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Rents reach record high in September

Rents across England and Wales have overtaken all previous records, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc.

Average rents across England and Wales rose to £757 per month in September, after a monthly increase of 1.8%. On an annual basis, this leaves rents 2.1% higher than September a year ago.

Rents now stand at levels £13 per month higher than the previous all-time record, set in October 2012 when monthly rents averaged £744 across England and Wales.

Record rents also mirrored faster lettings activity. The number of new tenancies across England and Wales increased by 6.5% compared to August, taking the number of new lettings in September to levels 9.2% above those seen in September 2012.

Nine out of ten regions saw rents rise between August and September. The fastest monthly rise was in the South East, where rents are 3.3% higher than a month ago. Meanwhile the North West saw a 2.7% monthly rise, closely followed by the West Midlands at 2.6%. The only region to see lower rents in September was the East of England – after a 0.8% monthly drop.

On an annual basis, the East of England was also the only region to see lower rents – down 1.4% since September last year. However, the latest rises take London rents to levels 4.4% higher than a year ago, followed closely by 3.1% in Wales and 2.0% in the West Midlands.

Seven out of ten regions have seen individual all-time record rents. Rents have never been higher in Wales, the West Midlands, East Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, London and the South East. Only the North East, East of England, and the South West have ever seen higher rents.

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, owners of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments: “A new peak in tenant demand has driven rents to new heights, well above all previous records. Higher rents in almost every region show that, despite government schemes, buying a first home is still a difficult aspiration. This is not only down to low salary growth, but also a general shortage of supply – which is the underlying reason why homes are getting more expensive. The long term-trend to renting therefore looks unlikely to change significantly in the near future, despite the better availability of finance compared to previous years.”

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