First time buyers return affects rent levels.

20 July 2013

Rents held steady in June, defying the usual seasonal increase of the last five years, as the surge in FTB numbers eased the strain on the rental market, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services.

The average rent in England and Wales remains the same as in May, at £737 per month.  This comes after monthly rental inflation has been slowing for a number of months, and compares to an average 0.8% monthly increase in June over the five years since 2008. The continued slowdown leaves rents only 2.6% higher than in the same month last year – below the rate of CPI inflation (2.9%).

The number of new tenants in June also indicated a slightly cooler rental market. Across England and Wales there were 0.8% fewer new tenancies in June than in May. However, activity has still seen strong annual growth.  The number of new lettings in June increased by 3.5% compared to the same month in 2012.

Regional variation remains. Five out of ten regions saw rents rise in June. The sharpest monthly increase was in the East Midlands, where rents have risen 0.7% since May.  Second fastest were the North West and South West, with average rents in both regions seeing a 0.5% monthly rise.

The quickest monthly falls were in Wales, where average rents are down 1.9%.  Rents in Yorkshire and the Humber fell by 0.6% since May, while the West Midlands saw average rents drop by 0.5%.

Meanwhile, rents in the South East have fallen by 0.4% between May and June, representing a sharp decline from only the previous month. By comparison, between April and May the average monthly rent in the South East had grown by 0.2%.

On an annual basis, rents in seven out of ten regions remain higher than in June 2012.  London remains the region with the fastest annual rent rises, up 6.4% from a year ago.  However June’s figure is much slower than the recent peak of 7.9% rental inflation registered in the capital in March.  The East Midlands experienced the second fastest annual rises, with rents up 3.4% in June, followed by the North East with rents on average 2.5% higher than a year ago.

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