Half of all landlords re-letting properties this year have been able to capitalise on the lack of available homes and increase their rent.
Research by Hamptons shows that would-be tenants are now faced with significantly less choice meaning that landlords have raised rents by an average of £60 per month.
It reports that rental growth nationally has been fuelled by a lack of stock; 300,000 fewer properties have come onto the rental market since the onset of the pandemic, nearly a fifth less than during the preceding 12 months.
The urban-rural divide has also continued to deepen, with 16% more homes available to rent in cities in February 2021 than at the same time last year, while towns and country locations recorded falls of 28% and 52% respectively.
Rental growth outside London hit the highest figure on record since its monthly lettings index began in 2012; the average rent of a newly let property is now 8% or £68 per month higher than it was in February 2020. Across Great Britain, rents rose 5.6%, the fastest rate of growth since February 2015.
London is the only regional exception. Across Greater London rents fell 0.2% year-on-year, with the drop driven by falls in Inner London. In line with weak rental growth in the capital, fewer London landlords (37%) were able to secure higher rents, marking the lowest proportion recorded in any region.
However, head of research Aneisha Beveridge (pictured) believes there are signs of change as landlords looking to beat the original stamp duty deadline of the end of March, made more buy-to-let purchases.
She adds: “Meanwhile, the government announced a new Mortgage Guarantee Scheme in the budget which is aimed at helping would-be buyers with small deposits, many of whom are currently renting. Both factors, alongside the ending of the eviction ban in April, mean rental stock levels may have bottomed out.”