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February 28

by Millie Wickens
Buy to let rents are rising – but only just!

Buy to let rents across the UK increased by just one per cent in the year to the end of January 2019, according to the latest official figures.

Broken down by country, England saw a 1.1 per cent rise, while rents in Wales were up 0.9 per cent and those in Scotland increased by 0.7 per cent, the Private Housing Rental Cost Index published by the Office for National Statistics shows.

The ONS also disclosed rents in London were up 0.1 per cent year-on-year – falling from 0.2 per cent in December.

If London figures are disregarded, rent growth the rest of the UK jumps to 1.6 per cent for the year.

In England, the highest annual rent increase was in the East Midlands, with a rise of 2.4 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent in December 2018. Next highest was Yorkshire and The Humber up 1.9 per cent, followed by the West Midlands up 1.8 per cent.

The lowest rent increase growth was in London, then the North East, which saw a 0.4 per cent rise, up from 0.3 per cent in December 2018.

The ONS says despite slowing rent increases, the amount tenants pay has risen by seven per cent since January 2015.

However, in a separate UK rent analysis, tenant referencing firm Homelet UK published data which is at odds of that from the ONS.

Homelet claims UK rents increased by 2.5 per cent in January 2019, compared to 12 months earlier.

The firm also says London rents were up 3.7 per cent year on year in January, while average rents in the capital are £1,588 a month.

Average UK rents including London are £932 a month, but fall to £775 a month excluding London.

Martin Totty, chief executive at HomeLet, said: “Positively for both tenants and landlords, this year we’ve seen stability in UK rental price growth, with increases remaining broadly in line with the rate of consumer inflation.”

The ONS data is based on rental data from 520,000 homes, while Homelet’s figures come from an undisclosed number of tenant referencing inquiries.

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