London’s rent continues to edge upward

Julian Harris
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STRONG demand and weak supply continues to hike up London rents, with many young people struggling to get a step onto the property ladder.

“Rental growth in London and the south has outperformed the rest of the country, though all regions have seen a pickup in rents,” the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said yesterday.

In the three months to July, a positive balance of 34 per cent of surveyors reported higher rental costs across the UK – a slightly slower rate of growth than in the three months to April (+42 per cent).

“Surveyors are once again highlighting the shift of would-be first time buyers into the rental market as they struggle to access mortgage finance,” the report said.

In London, the positive balance of respondents reporting higher rents was closer to 50 per cent – the highest of all regions in the UK.

Across the UK, 25 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise in demand than a fall.

“The inevitable outcome is that rents will continue to increase,” warned RICS spokesperson James Scott-Lee.

“Our research shows that on average there are more than seven people searching for every room that comes onto the rental market,” added Matt Hutchinson for the website Spare Room.

“And in desirable areas where rooms in flat and house shares are snapped up almost as soon as they appear online, landlords can charge a premium.”

One in eight people living in shared accommodation is over the age of 40, according to the website, suggesting that more mature adults are being forced into living as housemates.

The group’s research also showed that one in 10 people in shared accommodation have given up hope of ever being able to afford their own property.

The economic squeeze is also reflected in RICS’s figures. The group revealed yesterday that more people are seeking government assistance.

“Social lettings are now at their highest level since the series began in 1999, at 13 per cent of all new lets, up from eight per cent,” RICS said in the research.