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October 8

by Samantha Altman
Lack of growth in London rent rates skews statistics

Buy to let rents have lost their head of steam and are rising at their lowest rate for six years, according to the latest official data.

Rents in England were 16.2% higher in August than when the Office of National Statistics started compiling the data in January 2011 – but the rate of increase has dropped from 2.8% a year to 0.9%.

The statistics also show no change in the rate of increase from July to August 2018.

The ONS says the slowdown in rent rises is due to a lack of growth in London.

However, the capital was actually the only region where rents fell in the year to August 2018 – by 0.3%.

Rents are rising fastest in the East Midlands, which posted a 2.8% increase. The prices tenants pay to rent a private home also rose between 1.5% and 2.1% in the South West, East of England, West Midlands and the South East.

Besides London, the lowest increase was in the North East, where rents were up 0.2%.

The average rent in England including London climbed by 0.9% in the year to August, but when stripping out the data for the capital, the rate of increase rose to 1.6%.

Data by professional bodies also shows that the number of new properties to rent is slowing.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors states new instructions from landlords has dropped for 23 months in a row despite ‘resilient’ demand from tenants.

Letting agent trade body the Association of Residential Letting Agents reports rental demand is at the highest level this year while the number of new homes to rent is falling.

“Growth in private rental prices paid by tenants has slowed since the end of 2015. This slowdown in the growth in private rental prices is driven mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period,” says the latest ONS report.

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