Most of UK saw steady rental growth in 2018, led by almost 5% rise in London

Rents in the UK increased by 1.5% in the 12 months to December 2018 to an average of £921 per month, the latest lettings index shows.

However, when London is excluded the rise was just 0.7% to an average of £763, according to the data from the HomeLet index, while in London they increased by 4.7% to £1,596.

The firm suggests in the index report that the figures show that the private rented market is resilient and in December rents increased in nine of the 12 regions covered. But rents were down by 0.3% month on month.

A breakdown of the figures shows that the biggest year on year rise was 4.7% in London while the largest fall was 4.6% in the North East of England to an average of £520 but increased slightly by 0.6% month on month.

In Scotland rents were up 1.5% year on year to an average of £623 but fell by 1.9% month on month while in Wales they fell by 1.7% year on year and by 0.7% month on month to £595 and in Northern Ireland rents rose 1.9% on an annual basis to £632 but were down 1.1% month on month.

The Midlands has seen steady growth. Rents were up 2.1% year on year and 0.1% month on month in the West Midlands to an average of £689 and in the East Midlands up by 2.9% on an annual basis and by 0.6% month on month to £629. In the East of England rents fell monthly and yearly to £895, down 1.4% and 0.3% respectively.

The South West of England saw a very steady year with rents up 2.7% to £833 and they also increased by a resilient 1.7% month on month while in the South East rents increased by 0.9% year on year and by 0.9% month on month to £998.

Meanwhile, in Yorkshire and Humberside rents were flat on an annual basis and up 0.2% month on month to £624 while in the North West of England they increased by 1.7% year on year and by 0.6% month on month to £698.

‘Positively for both tenants and landlords, this year we’ve seen stability in UK rental price growth, with increases remaining broadly in line with the rate of consumer inflation,’ said Martin Totty, chief executive of HomeLet.

‘For landlords there remains a sustained demand for property, with the private rental sector continuing to provide the market with both flexible and long term housing options,’ he added.

He believes that the strong growth in the London lettings market will continue as demand is outweighing supply. ‘Private residential landlords will continue to play a key role in the wider UK housing market. Whilst the outlook for property investors remains positive, one of the key concerns for the market in 2019 would be a potential lack of supply in certain regions,’ he explained.

‘The Government’s squeeze on private landlords via taxation changes and more regulation could discourage their continued participation in this important sector. Unlike the trends we saw in 2018, any reduction in supply could lead to rental increases that are above the rate of consumer inflation,’ he added.