UK's total rent bill rises over £50bn - but millennials are finally paying less of it

Helen Cahill
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Political Uncertainty Dampens UK Housing Market
Millennials are starting to move into their own homes (Source: Getty)

Renters in the UK paid out £51.6bn to landlords last year, the highest rent bill on record.

The UK's rental bill rose by £1.8bn in 2017, according to research published today by Countrywide. The estate agency group said the rise was driven by an increase in the number of renters, and rising rents; the average cost of a new let rose 2.4 per cent year-on-year to £958.

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The amount of rent paid out by the millennial generation fell by two per cent as they graduated to property ownership. However, this group (defined by Countrywide as those born between 1977 and 1995) still has the largest rent bill of all, shelling out more than £30bn every year since 2014. Millennials have been paying the majority of the UK's rent bill for the last 11 years.

Millennials will pay less in rent over time as they start to buy homes, Countrywide said. However, Countrywide cautioned that, as a group, millennials would transition to home ownership more slowly than preceding generations.

Jonny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “As millennials age, more are becoming homeowners, so the total amount they’re paying in rent has started to drop. But the "Generation Rent" title still applies. Any fall will be much smaller and slower than seen by previous generations as less become homeowners."

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Meanwhile, the next generation, those born after 1995, doubled its rent bill year-on-year from £2.7bn to £5.5bn, the sharpest increase of any age group. So-called Generation Z first registered on Countrywide's rental records in 2012.

Excluding London, average rents across Britain rose by 1.9 per cent. Rental growth in London outstripped the rest of the country. The average new let rent rose 3.3 per cent year-on-year in London, up from £1,649 to £1,704. The only region where rents fell was the North East.

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