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Rents rise again in April

Rents in April increased to the highest level since November 2012, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.

The average rent in England and Wales has risen by 0.2% since March, to £736 per month. Continued growth leaves rents in April 3.9% higher than a year ago, almost as fast in March when rents were 4.2% higher year-on-year.

For the first time since November 2011, every region of England and Wales has seen rents rise on an annual basis. The strongest increases were in London, where rents are 7.6% higher than a year ago, followed by annual rises of 5.0% in Wales and 4.1% in the East Midlands. While the South West was the only region to see annual falls in March, this reversed in April, with annual rent rises of 0.5%.

On a monthly basis, eight out of ten regions saw rents rise. The strongest of these increases was in the East Midlands where rents rose 0.6% from the month before. This was followed by the North East and the South West where rents posted a 0.5% gain in both regions. Meanwhile, rents dropped the fastest in Wales, falling 0.3%. The second region to see a monthly fall was the North West, with rents in April 0.2% lower than a month before.

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, comments:

“Rents everywhere are higher than a year ago – at a time when pay has crept up at the slowest rate in years. But some regions are suffering even more than others. Despite a year-on-year increase across the board, the divergence between London and the rest of the country is continuing, even if a little slower than last month. Meanwhile, other regions with traditionally weaker labour markets are suffering the same rent rises. For example, rental rises of 5% in Wales will be keenly felt.

“Landlords across the UK have increased the stock of rental properties by around 10% since 2008 – but the more fundamental squeeze is still coming from a lack of new building.”

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