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Average residential rents in England and Wales increased by 3.1% year on year to stand at £766 in February 2015, the fastest annual rise since May 2013. The latest buy to let index from estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains also shows that the East of England recorded a 10.2% annual rent rise, the strongest growth of any region in over five years. The overall annual boost follows a monthly uplift of 0.4% in February 2015, a £3 increase which comes after a series of monthly drops in January of 0.6%, a fall of 0.1% in December 2014 and a fall of 0.2% in November. In real terms, average residential rents in England and Wales now stand at £766, compared to £763 in January 2015 and £743 in February last year. The index also shows that tenant finances are worse with 7.6% of all rent in arrears in February 2015, compared to 6.9% a year ago and returns for landlords have stabilised with total returns up to 11.5% over the last 12 months. According to Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move, the rental sector is carrying the weight of the housing crisis. ‘More homes are needed to house an ever growing population. The supply simply isn’t there. The result is that landlords are catering to those who can’t afford to buy as well as those who choose renting for the flexibility it offers them such as workers moving into new jobs, or people wanting to get a feel for an area before committing to property ownership and setting down roots,’ he explained. ‘House prices rising out of reach for people at the lower end of the market makes increasing demand in the private rented sector inevitable. A serious and substantial commitment to new builds is the only way to bring supply in line with demand,’ he added. A regional breakdown of the figures shows that tents in the East of England have rocketed up to £787 in February 2015 compared to £714 a year ago. It forms the latest link in a chain of accelerating annual rent rises for the East stretching back to July last year. London saw the second highest annual rise with rents resting 4.9% above levels in February 2014. The North West saw rents down 0.3% and in the North East they were down 0.4%, the only regions to see a year on year drop in rents, while prices in the West Midlands and South West remained stable compared to last year. On a monthly basis, the South West took the lead with a 1.7% increase in rental prices, closely followed by Wales up 1.2% and the West Midlands up 0.9%. Although rents in the East of England saw a more modest 0.7% boost, it is the only region to have experienced monthly rises for 10 consecutive months, contributing to its dominant position in… Continue reading →
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