UK rents are rising at their fastest since 2016, according to the latest ONS Index of Private Housing Rental Prices.

In the 12 months to April, excluding London, rental prices increased by 3.4%, while in the capital, they increased by 1.1%, up from an increase of 0.4% in March – the strongest annual growth there since November 2020. Private rental prices have grown by 2.5% in England, by 1.7% in Wales, and 2.9% in Scotland in the last year, with the East Midlands seeing the highest annual growth in prices (4%), and London the lowest.

New tenancies

While the latest Zoopla figures showed rents on new tenancies rising by 11% to hit a 14-year high, the ONS index looks at all tenancies, where rents are rising more slowly. Zoopla’s figures also revealed that rental growth in London had risen by a staggering 25% in the first quarter of the year.

Tenants flocking to the capital are driving up rents, according to estate agent Hamptons, which reports that a record 30% of homes let in London this year went to people who previously lived outside the city; those from the Home Counties now account for more than half of tenants moving in. 

Rents surging

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of Generation Rent, says rents have been surging since offices and universities opened back up last year, and more people moved back to cities than there were homes available. He adds: “Now landlords are trying to raise rent on existing tenants knowing that if they can’t afford it, it won’t be hard to find a new tenant. This is unsustainable, particularly for the 39% of private renters who rely on Local Housing Allowance which has been frozen.”


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