The cost of renting in the West Midlands has fallen further behind the capital after an 11 per cent rise meant rents in London reached double those across the rest of the UK for the first time ever.
Average rents in the West Midlands rose by 4.3 per cent over the past year, to £625 per month – but the increase failed to keep pace with the national average.
Meanwhile, London continued to be on another planet, with tenants in the capital facing average monthly rents of £1,412 – a 11.2 per cent rise and 225 per cent of the West Midlands figure.
Average rents across the country went up 6.3 per cent over the last 12 months and now stand at £862 a month compared to £811 a year ago, a study has found.
The data from HomeLet’s Rental Index means that London has “pushed beyond the boundary” of what is affordable amid increasing concerns about a cost-of-living crisis, experts said.
Martin Totty, chief executive of parent company Barbon Insurance Group, said: “The private rental sector continues to show strong growth with rental values increasing year on year across the country, with little exception.
“Although average incomes have also been rising, there are parts of the country where we are seeing affordability getting tighter.
“As a rule of thumb, for a rental property to be affordable, a tenant’s gross income must be at least two-and-a-half times his or her annual rent.
“Our data shows that rents in London have pushed beyond that boundary, with the South East and South West of England close behind.”
Out of the country’s 12 regions, only the North East of England and Scotland witnessed minor falls in rental prices, with year-on-year drops of 2.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.
Scotland had an average monthly rent of £578, while tenants in the North East pay £507 on average, specialist insurer HomeLet’s Rental Index showed.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Contrary to this limited survey, figures from the Office for National Statistics clearly show private rents falling in real terms – while inflation currently stands at 1.9 per cent, nationally rents have risen by just 1 per cent.
“Building more rented housing will be the most effective way of controlling rent levels in the future - excessive red tape would just push up rents and reduce choice.
“That’s why we’re investing £1 billion in our Build to Rent fund, which is on track to have work started on 10,000 newly built homes specifically for private rent.
“On top of this, we’re also introducing a range of measures to give landlords and tenants the confidence they need that they’re getting a fair deal, including through a new ‘How to Rent’ guide so those renting privately know their rights and what to expect.”
Region / Annual variation in average rental value / Average rental value per month (year)
Greater London 11.2 per cent £1,412 (£16,944)
East Anglia 6.4 per cent £781 (£9,372)
Wales 4.7 per cent £584 (£7,008)
South West 4.6 per cent £813 (£9,756)
South East 4.4 per cent £863 (£10,356)
West Midlands 4.3 per cent £625 (£7,500)
North West 2.9 per cent £665 (£7,980)
Yorkshire & Humber 2.2 per cent £600 (£7,200)
Northern Ireland Two per cent £567 (£6,804)
East Midlands 0.2 per cent £579 (£6,948)
North East -2.3 per cent £507 (£6,084)
Scotland -3.8 per cent £578 (£6,936)
OVERALL 6.3 per cent £862 (£10,344)
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