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Private rental prices paid by tenants in Britain rose by 1.7% in the 12 months to December 2014, according to official figures from the Office of National Statistics. A breakdown of the figures show that private rental prices increased by 1.8% in England, 2% in Scotland and 0.2% in Wales in the 12 months to December 2014. Rental prices increased in all the English regions over the year to December 2014, with rental prices increasing the most in London at 2.4%, followed by the South East at 2.1%. A spokesman for the ONS pointed out that improved methodology means that the annual growth rate has been revised upwards considerably. ‘Improved methodology has been implemented leading to revisions to the full IPHRP time series. The latest data uses the new methodology,’ he explained. David Whittaker, managing director of Mortgages for Business, said it is no surprise as those in the industry have seen rents rising much faster than the ONS previously estimated. He pointed out that even a plain vanilla buy to let property now commands an average yield of 6.3%, according to our the firm’s latest Complex Buy to Let Index, while a larger, multi-unit freehold block can provide a landlord with a 9.3% rental yield. ‘But rents still aren’t rising much faster than inflation. We’re talking an average annual rent rise of 2.1% over the last couple of years instead of 1.2%. Affordability of renting, like the affordability of most things in an unprecedented economic slump, has been squeezed. But the culprit hasn’t been excessive rent rises,’ he explained. ‘That’s thanks to the vast investment that landlords are pouring into this industry, supported by a healthy buy to let mortgage market. More homes to let are keeping rents from rising at an unhealthy pace,’ he added. He also pointed out that the latest figures from the Bank of England showing approved mortgage increased in December 2014 for the first time since June, only goes to show the importance of investing in the private rented sector. ‘The mortgage market has continued on a mainly stable trajectory, going in the right direction but not taking off. Private renting will continue to dominate the housing market, and as an industry it needs all the investment and financial support it can get,’ he concluded. Continue reading →
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