Rental Index: Hikes Continue to Bite as UK Average Rent Price Hits Another Record High across England, Wales and Scotland

The HOMELET RENTAL INDEX figures for April 2021 have now been released, with UK average rents at their highest levels since the index was launched in 2014.

The HomeLet Rental Index provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date data on rental values in the UK and the trends reported within the HomeLet Rental Index are from data on actual achieved rental values for just-agreed tenancies arranged in the most recent period – providing an in-depth insight into the lettings market and what’s happening right now across the UK.

The latest report reveals that landlords are continuing to increase rental rates to record levels – the average rent in the UK is now at a record high of £996 – the fifth month in a row that the average price has increased, despite many workers being on reduced pay due to furlough.  even when London is excluded, the average rent in the UK is now £853, showing an increase of 0.7% on last month, and an increase of 6.2% on last year.

In fact, nine of the twelve regions monitored by HomeLet showed a MOM increase in rental values between March 2021 and April 2021, with the North East seeing the largest increase of 2.4%.  Eleven of the twelve regions also showed a YOY increase in rental values between April 2020 and April 2021.  The South West saw the largest increase at 8.6%.

Wales saw rentals increase by 1.3% per month and 6.2% year on year.

However, rents in London continue to fall , alongside rents in the East Midlands, Northern Ireland and Greater London.

Commenting on the latest data, Andy Halstead, HomeLet & Let Alliance Chief Executive Officer, said: 

“We’re continuing to see a sustained demand for let property; against a backdrop of reduced stock, with landlords facing increased costs and growing concerns about legislative changes.

“As we gradually ease from protective measures, the stark reality is that we’re fast approaching a summer where rental prices could accelerate at a rate never seen before.

“Almost a quarter of adults in the UK live in the private rented sector. The sector’s importance seems to be understated by those who don’t understand how vital it is. We all agree that the industry works best when balancing the needs of all parties, critically between landlords and their tenants. The common misconception is that increases in rents are solely driven by unscrupulous landlords trying to maximise profits. That is simply not true.

“Landlords have been hit by a sustained raft of legislative changes, which mean that their costs to let property have had to increase. With the Tenant Fees Act as an example, costs are ultimately passed on to tenants through higher rents – the same group who should have benefitted most from that legislation.

“The ban on all tenant evictions and plans to abolish Section 21 may prompt some landlords to consider exiting the market when they’re able to, causing yet more strain on property supply. Letting property will continue to be an excellent long-term investment, but the pandemic has amplified some of the issues that both landlords and tenants are facing.

“The reality is that once the furlough scheme ends, millions of people could potentially be facing unemployment at the same time as tackling the most expensive rental market on record. The country risks a deepening crisis if policy change aimed at restoring balance to the market is not urgently pursued.”

Table 1: Summary by Region for Average Agreed Rental Values in the UK 

Region April-2021 March-2021 April-2020 Monthly Variation Annual Variation
South West £955 £936 £879 2.0 % 8.6 %
East Midlands £709 £718 £656 -1.3 % 8.1 %
Yorkshire & Humberside £693 £688 £647 0.7 % 7.1 %
East of England £993 £987 £929 0.6 % 6.9 %
North East £555 £542 £521 2.4 % 6.5 %
North West £791 £788 £744 0.4 % 6.3 %
Wales £686 £677 £646 1.3 % 6.2 %
South East £1,102 £1,086 £1,043 1.5 % 5.7 %
West Midlands £755 £746 £727 1.2 % 3.9 %
Scotland £689 £682 £665 1.0 % 3.6 %
Northern Ireland £670 £681 £663 -1.6 % 1.1 %
Greater London £1,580 £1,586 £1,668 -0.4 % -5.3 %
UK £996 £992 £968 0.4 % 2.9 %
UK excluding Greater London £853 £847 £803 0.7 % 6.2 %


Graph 1: Annual Variance in UK Rent

Graph 2: Annual Variance in UK Rent (Excluding Greater London)

Graph 3: Annual Variance in Greater London Rent

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