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Rent rises at fastest pace since the financial crisis

Lana Clements
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Lana Clements

Renters are under growing financial pressure as the price of letting a home soars to a 14-year high.

Average rent jumped 11% to £995 in the first quarter of 2022, according to property website Zoopla.

Tenants now pay an extra £88 a month in rent on average compared to the start of the pandemic, meaning they’re spending a larger proportion of gross income on housing.

In London, a single renter faces spending more than half of earnings on rent, according to Zoopla.

A new let agreed for an average rental property in the capital will cost more than £20,000 in rent over the next 12 months, after rents have grown in the city by 15% annually.

Across the UK, the average rent now accounts for over a third of gross income for a single earner.

Rising rents have pushed tenants to typically stay in properties for an extra five months compared to five years ago. The average tenancy length has grown to 75 weeks, from 51 weeks at the start of 2017.

Meanwhile demand for rental property continues to outpace supply across the country, which is pushing up rental costs, Zoopla said.

Rental demand is strongest in Scotland, Wales and London, with demand levels more than 65% above the five-year average.

The most affordable rental markets for dual earners tend to be located in more rural areas including Great Yarmouth in the East of England, South Somerset in the South West and North East Lincolnshire in Yorkshire & the Humber, according to Zoopla.

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said: “UK rental growth is being driven by high rental demand and limited supply, trends that are more pronounced in city centres.  The surge of post-pandemic pent-up rental demand will normalise through Q2 and Q3 however, which means rental growth levels will start to ease.

“Affordability considerations will also start to put a limit on further rental growth although this may occur at different times depending on location. Rents are likely to continue rising for longer in areas which have the most constrained stock levels – currently London, Scotland and the South West.”