Rents in UK up 1.7% in 2017, latest index data shows

Rents across the UK increased by 1.7% in December 2017 when compared to the same month a year previously, taking the average monthly rent to £907, the latest index shows.

However the market is variable with the data also shows that rents in the South East of England were 1% lower in December 2017 than in the same month in 2016 and fell year on year in the region during every month of 2017.

The East Midlands saw the highest rate of rental price growth in December, with rents up 4.6% year on year, according to the data from the HomeLet index, to £611 a month, but are lower than most regions of the country other than Wales and the North East.

Rental rents rises 3% in three other regions last month, in the South West, the North East and Northern Ireland with growth of 3.3%, 3.2% and 3.2% respectively.

Rents in Wales were flat in December year on year and down 0.8% month on month at £605 while in Scotland rents were up 1.8% year on year to £614 but down on a monthly basis by 1%.

In London rents increased year on year by 1% even after the city recording falling rents in five months of the year. The average tenancy agreed in London was £1,524, down 0.4% month on month.

The index report says that overall rent growth was much more stable over the course of 2017. By contrast, rents in 2016 regularly rose at an annual rate of more than 4% in the first half of the year, before they dropped back in the second half of the year.

And rental price inflation remains modest by recent standards. In December 2015, rents were up 3.7% on the same month of 2014, in a year when rental price inflation never fell below 3.5%.

The data for December 2017 also means it is likely that rents rose at a slower rate than general inflation in every month of last year, with inflation on the consumer price index measure running at 3.1% in November, the most recent period for which official statistics are available. The last time that average rents rose more quickly than inflation was December 2016, when the HomeLet Rental Index recorded an increase of 1.7% compared to a CPI reading of 1.6%.

According to HomeLet’s chief executive officer, Martin Totty, 2017 was a year in which rental price inflation was modest. ‘We actually saw average rents across the country fall during May and June, and while this was not repeated during the second half of the year, we remain some way off the much higher levels of rental price inflation that prevailed in 2015 and much of 2016,’ he pointed out.

‘We continue to see a very mixed picture regionally: in areas of the country where rents rose less quickly in 2015 and 2016, rental price inflation was much higher last year; by contrast, those areas where rents were previously rising fastest have been seeing much more modest increases,’ he added.