Rents continue to rise across UK
The Your Move and Reeds Rains buy-to-let index registered an average residential rent of £767 against £745 the year before.
In the East of England, Yorkshire & Humber, East Midlands and London there was no seasonal fall and new records.
Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, said: “In particular a jobs boom across the eastern regions of England has seen a larger than usual number of people relocating in the winter months. This has pushed up rental prices in these regions even further.
Rents are higher than a year ago in eight out of 10 regions of England and Wales. This is led by the East of England, with a 7.6 per cent annual increase. The East Midlands has seen rents rise by 6.2 per cent on an annual basis, followed by London where rents are up 4.1 per cent over the last twelve months, and Yorkshire & the Humber with a 3.4 per cent annual increase. As a result, these four regions have seen rents at record highs in December.
In contrast, average rents in the North East fell by 2.1 per cent over the course of 2014, while rents in the South West are 1.0 per cent lower on an annual basis.
Tenants certainly felt a festive squeeze, however, with 8.9 per cent of rent in arrears, the highest since previous December and up from 7.5 per cent in November.
This is an improvement year-on-year, when 9.7 per cent of all rent was in arrears.
However, the overall figures suggest arrears are improving every year.
The gross yield on a typical rental property in England and Wales now stands at 5.1% as of December 2014 with total annual rental returns at 11.1%.