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Rental market high season kicks in with 6.7% rise

Rents often peak around June to September each year, and the latest rental market figures show a strong monthly and annual rise as demand heats up.

Average rental costs in England spiked by 6.7% in June compared with a year ago, according to the latest data from the Goodlord Rental Index. This is very much along the same trajectory as we have seen since the start of the year of rises between 6% and 7%, with the rental market showing no sign of slowing down.

Demand has been sky-high in the UK rental market for several years now, as more tenants stay put in the sector for longer, or even forego homeownership indefinitely, while a shortage of homes on offer has also reportedly exacerbated the problem in many areas.

On a monthly basis, rents have risen by 4% between May and June, which is a significant jump in a short space of time and could be an indication of the start of a fast-paced summer market. This brings the average cost of renting to £1,255 per month.

UK rental market by region

The only region where prices dipped slightly month-on-month was the West Midlands, while the south west of England recorded the biggest rental cost hike of a huge 13%. This brought rents in the region from £1,191 in June 2023 to £1,347 in June 2024.

Goodlord also points out that this rental market index marks the first time this year that London rents have surpassed £2,000 per month, rising to an average of £2,010 in June which is a 2% annual climb.

The cheapest place to be a tenant in England remains the north east region, where June’s average rental cost came to £919 per month. After this, the West Midlands average rent is now £973, while the north west is the next cheapest at £1,002 per month.

Rental properties getting snapped up

Buy-to-let landlords in many parts of the country, but particularly in high-demand regional city locations such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham as well as London, have been reporting huge levels of appetite and enquiries when they list their properties on the rental market.

There have also been reports of fewer new lets being started due to the fact that, with rising rents coinciding with the cost of living crisis and some overall economic uncertainty, large numbers of tenants have been opting to stay in their current properties rather than attempt to move.

According to Goodlord’s figures, this fast-paced market shows no signs of abating. In fact, the latest index reveals that void periods – where a property sits empty between tenancies – have “significantly shortened” in June.

The average void period fell to 17 days in June, compared with 21 days last month, which is a 19% reduction overall. However, it was slightly longer than this time last year, when the average rental property sat untenanted for 16 days.

The shortest void periods can be found in London, where there are the highest concentration of privately renting tenants in the country. There have also been reports of some London landlords exiting the market there in search of better value elsewhere, which may have added pressure to the capital’s rental market.

A record-breaking year?

William Reeve, CEO of Goodlord, says: “There is a lot of discussion as to whether the pace of rental price rises is starting to slow. The next three months – which typically bring the annual peak in rents – will settle this debate.

“Right now, if this year’s current trajectory of consistent 6-7% year-on-year rent rises continues, we’ll see new records broken across England.

“And whilst a lot of the current signs indicate that this might be on the cards, we would need to see a very sizeable jump in rents over the next 4-8 weeks to surpass 2023 averages.

“However, it’s safe to say that market demand clearly remains very strong and that this continues to push rents up month-on-month.”

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