The average cost of renting a UK property has increased by3.9% in the past year, new figures show.
According to the HomeLet Rental Index for February, the average monthly rent is now £777.
The survey looks at agreed rental prices rather than the advertised cost and gives an insight into how the private rented sector is performing.
It also reveals that the average rent in February remained at the same levels as a month earlier.
Wales saw the largest annual fall in rent, with prices dropping by 6.6% to £542.
Greater London rents showed the highest increase, rising 7.2% to £1,242 a month. This means it is now 89.6% more expensive to rent in the capital than the rest of the UK. This is the highest difference on record.
HomeLet’s managing director Ian Fraser says seven of the 12 UK regions have average rents less than half of those seen in London. And he expects it is only a matter of time before Greater London rents hit double the overall UK average.
He points out that strict planning regulations in the capital mean it is difficult to build new homes, which may result in more people moving to the commuter belt in the outskirts in a bid to reduce their rental costs.
Rental figures from LSL Property Services have also been released this month. Its Buy-to-Let Index shows that the downward pace of rents slowed in February, with averages dropping just 0.1% to £731 per month.
On a monthly basis rents grew in half the regions assessed, despite a monthly drop nationally.
Commercial director David Brown says that although the rental sector has not yet “burst into life” it is showing more vitality than in February 2012. At that time, tenant demand was being affected as people rushed to buy a property ahead of the stamp duty deadline, he explains.
The LSL Property Services report reveals that Wales had the strongest monthly rise at 1.8%, followed by the north-east at 0.9%.
The fastest drops were 1.3% in the north-west and 1.1% in the east of England.