Renters rejoice: Homelet predicts a fall in housing costs for February

Josh Martin
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There could be a silver lining coming to city renters this month (Source: Getty)

London renters don't often have much to smile about: crazy demand to see 'cosy' apartments, sky-high agency fees (although they will soon be a thing of the past), and the endless march of rents taking an ever-larger chunk of our pay...until now.

Renters in the capital may get a small respite this month, with Homelet predicting average UK rents will begin to fall over the next few months.

Better still, the dips will be most profound where earlier rises were strongest – such as in London.

In Greater London, annual rental price inflation was just 0.4 per cent in January, compared to a peak of 7.1 per cent last July. Homelet said if this trend continues renters in the capital may see a year-on-year dip in rents when the February data comes in.

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Seasonally, the decrease has already occurred, with the average agreed tenancy being £1,497 in January, compared with £1,508 before Christmas.

Further out in the commuter belt, in the south east annual rental price inflation is now negative, with rents on new tenancies agreed in January down by 0.6 per cent compared to January 2016.

Homelet Rental Index numbers show across the UK rental rises for new lets are slowing, up by an average of just 0.7 per cent in January, compared to the same month of 2016.

That is down from an annual rate of inflation of 1.7 per cent in December.

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The further decline shows that UK rental price inflation has really come off the boil – dropping for each of the past seven months. At the peak of the market in June last year rents were increasing at an annual rate of 4.7 per cent.

Martin Totty, HomeLet’s chief executive said the new data adds to the picture of landlords easing off on the rent rises.

Totty said:

Our data has been showing, for some time, that landlords do not feel able to raise rents on new tenancies at anything like the pace seen during 2015 and the first half of 2016. Now it is even possible that rents will begin falling, which would be unprecedented in recent times.

Across the UK as a whole, the average rent for a new tenancy starting in January was £888 per month, compared to £882 in January last year.

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