UK private rents went up 4.7% in February: ONS


Private rents in the UK increased by 4.7% in the 12 months to February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals.

The latest figure is a 0.3% rise from January and represents the largest annual percentage change since this UK series began in January 2016.

The annual percentage change in rents increased across all regions in 2022, including in London. The latest data shows this has continued in early 2023.

Annual private rental prices increased by 4.5% in England, 4.2% in Wales and 4.9% in Scotland in the 12 months to February.

Within England, the East Midlands saw the highest annual percentage change in private rental prices in the 12 months to February (4.9%), while the West Midlands saw the lowest (4.0%).

The data shows London’s annual percentage change in private rental prices was 4.6% in the 12 months to February.

This figure is up from 4.0% in December and is the strongest annual percentage change in London since August 2015.

Andrews estate agents group chief executive officer Carl Howard says: “This record-breaking annual rental price rise of 4.7% speaks to the strong competition for new lets, as well as the shortage of supply.”

“The current mismatch between population growth and house building is continuing to stoke demand for rental properties, particularly in cities and commuter hubs.”

“Another big factor has been the growing pressure on landlords, hit by the spiraling cost of living and increased mortgage rates — a legacy of the autumn budget. With double-digit inflation continuing to lift their costs across the board, many buy-to-let owners are struggling to justify holding onto investment properties.”

“Government legislation and some clumsy ‘us versus them’ rhetoric, particularly around the planned strengthening of renters’ rights, has also helped drive a good number of smaller landlords out of the market.”

“This exodus must be halted — and more rental properties brought to market — or prices will keep on rising. In the meantime let’s hope the Punch and Judy politics of the private sector can be replaced with something far more constructive, for landlords and tenants alike.”

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