Rents in capital soar to all-time record in March

Ben Southwood
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LONDON rents surged to their highest ever level in March, according to figures released yesterday.

After a 1.3 per cent rise from February, they hit a record of an average £1,106 per month, LSL Property Services figures showed, 7.9 per cent higher than they were a year earlier.

This came as part of a 4.2 per cent average annual climb across England and Wales, LSL said in a separate release out this morning. This brought the England and Wales average monthly rent bill to £735 per month.

“Winter staged a last-ditch counter offensive in March,” said LSL commercial director David Brown. “But in spite of the weather the rental market has gained some ground.”

Southampton is the UK's buy-to-let hotspot

Meanwhile separate HSBC research, also out this morning, found that Southampton was the UK’s top buy-to-let hotspot, with average rents the highest fraction of average property prices recorded in any location across the country.

With its average property worth £138,311 and an average rent of £901, Southampton has a gross rental yield of 7.82 per cent, HSBC said, the highest in the country.

This puts it ahead of Blackpool, where houses are £75,943 and rents £494, and Kingston upon Hull, where houses fetch £69,519 and rents average £450.

Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry, Slough, Oxford, Liverpool and Portsmouth round out the rest of the top ten UK places by buy-to-let yield, HSBC said. The top London area for buy-to-let investment is Southwark, which places 13th, the HSBC figures show, with a yield of 6.15 per cent.

But investors are having trouble getting the finance needed via traditional methods, according to separate figures from peer-to-peer lender West One Loans. According to its research 36 per cent of mortgage brokers cite buy-to-let as the most popular driver of bridging loans, up from 23 per cent last August.