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UK Rents down year on year for first time since 2009

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New data from the HomeLet index shows that in May, UK residential rents fell in five out of 12 regions compared to the same month a year ago. This is the first fall since December 2009.

Key figures show that:

  • rents were down by 0.3% overall, taking the average monthly rent to £901;
  • new tenancies in London were three times lower than this time last year - average rents fell from £1,572 a month last July to £1,502 in May;
  • four other UK regions also saw rents decline during May year on year. Rents fell by 0.6% in Yorkshire and Humberside, by 1.5% in the South East, by 1.9% in Scotland and, in the North East, by 2.3%.

According to PropertyWire, the index report says that May’s decrease in average rental values marks a noteworthy moment for the rented property sector as it is the first fall for eight years. It is not a major surprise, however, as the pace of rental price inflation across the UK has been slowing in recent months, having peaked at 4.7% last summer.

Martin Totty from HomeLet said: “The data suggests landlords are now facing a difficult balancing act between ensuring rents are affordable for tenants in a low real wage growth environment whilst covering their own rising costs

“Tenants will still need a vibrant and growing rented sector to provide them with property options at the time of their choosing. Any constraint to the supply of rental properties, because landlords are unable to achieve the reasonable returns they require, cannot be in the long term best interests of tenants, especially if, as we’ve now heard from all the main political parties, the UK’s population continues to grow”.