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North-South rental divide widens

to let void periods

The gap between the cost of renting in the North and South of England has widened, research from Hamptons International found.

The North-South rental divide has increased by 11% since February 2014.

The average home in the South costs £519 per month more than one in the North of England, up from £396 in February 2014.

Of the 20 largest cities across Great Britain, four of the five areas which saw the steepest increase in rents were in Southern England.

Bristol leads the way with growth of 6.6% year-on-year, followed by Oxford at 5.0% and Norwich at 4.8%, while London saw the fifth steepest growth of 3.0%.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “The rate of rental growth has tripled over the last year.

“Every region saw rents rise more in February 2020 than in February 2019, but cities – where the imbalance between supply and demand is greatest – have seen the biggest increases.

“In a reversal of three years ago, cities in the South are now seeing stronger rental growth than those in the North.

“Affordability barriers, making it harder for people to buy a home, tend to be higher in Southern cities.

“And it’s in these areas where demand for rental properties often outpaces supply. In recent years this has been exacerbated by falling rental stock levels, particularly in the South, where taxation changes have hit lower yielding landlords hardest.

“And it is the combination of these factors that has driven rental growth. As a result, the North-South rental divide has increased for the third year in a row and is now 11% wider than in 2014.”

Average rents in cities have risen the most, up 5.4% year-on-year compared to 1.8% in towns and suburbs, and 1.1% in the countryside.

The average cost of a newly let property rose 3.3% in February 2020, up from 1.1% during the same time last year.