December sees rents slip from all-time highs

Ben Southwood
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UK RENTS fell back from autumn’s record highs in December, data released this morning has shown.

Rents dropped 0.9 per cent in December, according to LSL Property Services’s buy-to-let index, bringing the average monthly rent to £734 per month.

This consolidated November’s 0.4 per cent decline, which pulled rents down from the all-time high of £744 per month recorded in October.

This downward push was felt especially keenly in London, where average rents sunk 1.5 per cent in just a month, bringing them to £1,087 per month. But in London, and across the country, decline over the past two months did not erase the gains the market has made over the year.

London rents soared 6.3 per cent over the year, with the south east propelling England and Wales-wide growth of 3.2 per cent.

LSL director David Newnes said the monthly decline was mainly down to seasonal factors, rather than any correction in the market.

Newnes said that the structural determinants of rental growth – particularly limited mortgage finance – would drive continued upward movement.

The seasonal decline in rents did not prevent an upturn in total arrears, the data showed. Total rent late or unpaid climbed £85m in December to hit £326m – or 10.1 per cent of all rent across England and Wales, 2.7 percentage points more than in November.