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Scottish rents have increased by just 1.1% in the year to February 2015, their slowest pace for over two years, according to the latest buy to let index. But despite this slower and more affordable pace of rent growth in Scotland, the financial health of tenants has declined over the same period, and February saw the highest proportion of late rent since December 2012. The Scotland buy to let index from letting agent network Your Move, also shows that the average residential rent across the country has increased only £6 in the last year, reaching £537 per month in February. This represents a significant downtrend in annual rent rises, which peaked at 4.3% a year previously in February 2014 equal to a £21 annual boost in cash terms. On a monthly basis, Scottish rental prices have climbed a modest 0.2% since January, but this marks the first monthly rent rise witnessed since November 2014, as the market had slowed down. ‘Such an incremental rise in Scottish rents over the past year shows admirable stability in the private rented sector. Despite high demand for homes to let in the face of the current housing shortage, rent inflation in the lettings market has remained remarkably affordable for tenants,’ said Brian Moran, area lettings director at Your Move. ‘After cruising along on a pretty even keel until late 2012, we then saw steep rent rises stack up against tenants as the abolition of tenancy fees in Scotland knocked the market out of kilter. The Scottish private rented sector has subsequently been on quite a rollercoaster ride, but rent growth has its feet firmly on the ground once again, and is making steady strides forward,’ he explained. ‘But while improvements in the affordability of the lettings market mean that tenants are able to keep up with rent rises, other economic factors are holding them back from making solid financial progress and continuing to drag tenants into the red,’ he added. A breakdown of the figures shows that rents are now higher than a year ago in three out of five regions of Scotland. Edinburgh and the Lothians have experienced the strongest annual rent growth, with prices climbing 2.5% in the 12 months to February 2015. This is closely followed by Glasgow and Clyde where rents are up 2.3% year on year. The East of Scotland saw a 2.2% annual rise in average rents, setting a new record of £530 per month. However, rents have fallen in two regions in the past year. The Highlands and Islands experienced the biggest annual drop in average rents, falling 1.6% while monthly rents in the South of Scotland are 1.5% lower than in February 2014. On a monthly basis, rents have increased in just two out of five regions of Scotland. For the first time in eight months, rents in the South rose on a monthly basis, up 1.3% since January 2015 to £489. In the East of Scotland rents climbed… Continue reading →
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