Date Published 21 May 2012
Rents rose for the first time in three months in April, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services.
In April, the average rent in England and Wales rose by 0.5% to £709 per month.
Despite the monthly rise, the rate of annual increase steadied with rents 2.4% higher than a year ago, compared to 2.7% in March.
Rents rose in seven regions of England and Wales on a monthly basis, with the North West and the East of England seeing the largest increases of 1.3%
and 1.1% respectively.
London's rents rose by 0.7% in April, with the average standing at £1032 pcm, 46% higher than the national average. Rents fell the most in Wales, where they decreased by 1.3% and the West Midlands, where they fell by 0.6% compared to March.
The largest annual rises were seen in London, where rents rose 4.5% in April. The next fastest growth was in the East of England and the South East where rents rose by 2.9% and 2.7% respectively. On an annual basis, rents have fallen in one region, dropping by 1.7% in the East Midlands.
David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said: "After absorbing the impact of the stamp duty deadline on tenant demand, the rental market began to heat up in April.
"As fewer tenants rushed to leave the sector, competition for rental accommodation intensified, and rents rose correspondingly.
"Lenders are retreating from higher loan-to-value lending in light of rising funding costs and the economic outlook.
"On top of this, first-time buyers now must save for longer to pay for stamp duty - in addition to finding substantial deposits - making house purchase a more distant prospect for many tenants.
"As a result, tenant demand will only strengthen, providing impetus for rental inflation in the long-term. That said, future rises are likely to be tempered by affordability concerns, with landlords weighing up the prospect of empty properties or tenant arrears against significant rent hikes."