Record tenant demand and record-fast lettings have combined to create an average asking rent above £1,000 per calendar month for homes outside London.
Rightmove’s Quarterly Rental Trends Tracker, based on over 470,000 properties, reveals that the number of prospective tenants contacting agents about properties for rent is currently 10 per cent higher than in July 2020 across Britain.
This is despite last year benefitting from pent-up tenant demand when the rental market re-opened in mid-May in England.
The average asking rent is now higher than this time last year in every region except London, although the capital is starting to see an improvement.
London rents grew by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of the year compared to the first, marking the first increase since early 2020 before the pandemic started.
They are now down by 3.1 per cent annually, with the quarterly increase being driven by the outer London zones.
At the start of this year Rightmove reported double digit annual declines in some of the biggest city centres across Britain, and a flood of rental properties entering the market as many tenants chose to move out of cities. There are now signs that tenants are starting to return, helping to stabilise or increase rents.
In Nottingham city centre, asking rents are up annually by 6.8 per cent, and the next best performing city centre is Liverpool, where rents are up by 3.8 per cent.
Inner London (where prices are down 6.8 per cent) and Edinburgh (down 4.0 per cent) are yet to recover, but higher tenant demand is likely to lead to rents rising again over the coming months.
Areas that have seen the biggest rent rises over the past year include city suburbs, commuter towns and coastal locations. Rochdale, Folkestone and Farnham have all seen asking rents jump by more than 25 per cent.
The time it is taking for a letting agent to find a tenant for a property is at a record low of 21 days nationally, measured from the date they are first marketed on Rightmove until the property is marked as let agreed.
This pace has led to a drop in available stock of 36 per cent across Britain.
Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister says: “At the start of this year the impact that tenants leaving cities had on rents was clear to see, but with restrictions continuing to lift we’re seeing signs of the city centre comeback. As businesses settle into a more structured balance between home and office time, we expect this to continue for the rest of the year.
“Tenants across Britain are being faced with low stock and record rents in many areas, likely fuelled by some tenants signing longer leases last year and also perhaps by a rush of people who chose to move back in with family last year, who are now making plans to rent again and in many cases starting to think about their new daily commute. We’re also starting to see signs of London rents creeping up again, but they’re still lower than two years ago so it will take time.”