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Private sector rents fall across England and Wales but 'spring bounce' predicted

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Private sector rents fall across England and Wales but 'spring bounce' predicted


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Private sector rents fall across England and Wales but 'spring bounce' predicted Private sector rents fall across England and Wales but 'spring bounce' predicted

Tenants in the private rented sector have received a welcome boost after rents fell for the third consecutive month, according to figures out today.

The latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc shows the average rent in England and Wales fell by 0.3% in January to £732 per month.

Although rents are now at their lowest since July 2012, they are 2.8% than a year ago, representing an average climb of £20 a month.

Six regions saw rents decrease on a monthly basis, compared to seven in December. The largest fall was in the South East where rents dropped 1.5%, followed by Yorkshire & the Humber with a 0.9% monthly fall. Four regions saw rents rise on a monthly basis. The fastest was in the East Midlands, where rents posted 1.2% growth, followed by the West Midlands with a 0.9% rise.

On an annual basis, rents in London saw the fastest growth, rising by 5.2% - an increase of £54 per month. The South East saw the next biggest annual rise, with rents 3.5% higher than last January. The sharpest annual falls were in Yorkshire & the Humber and the West Midlands – where rents are 0.6% and 0.3% below levels seen a year ago.

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said: “An improving mortgage market in January helped take a little pressure off the limited supply of rental property, at a time when the demand from tenants on the move is far from its seasonal peaks. But the dip in competition is not likely to last long. The pace of the fall in monthly rents has slowed, and we’re already seeing tenant activity pick up.
"The private rented sector is coiled for a spring bounce, and without a sudden widening in the supply of accommodation, rents are likely to resume their climb in fairly short order.”

The total amount of rent late or unpaid fell back to levels not seen for three months. Total arrears in January were £261m, down from £326m in December. This equates to 8.1% of all rent across England and Wales, while December’s arrears represented 10.1% of all rent.

David Newnes concludes: “Many households had their own mini financial crisis over Christmas, struggling to balance the cost of the festive period with ongoing monthly living costs. But January saw a strong improvement in the state of tenant finances.

"With the expensive Christmas period behind us, lower rents – in concert with resilience in the jobs market - have helped push arrears back to their October level. While rents are likely to mount a new charge in coming months, January’s pause for breath has given many tenants a real opportunity to regroup financially.”


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