Asking rents in suburban and rural areas have soared over the course of the pandemic, compared to minimal growth in urban areas.
Renters seeking homes further away from city centres had resulted in more residential areas jumping 11 per cent since the start of the Covid pandemic.
Urban areas have marked a rise of just two per cent, according to rental platform Rightmove.
Renters are facing hot competition outside cities with a 45 per cent drop in available homes on the market in suburban areas and a 61 per cent drop in rural locations.
City rents have risen just £25 since February 2020, from £1,347 to £1,372 pcm.
The average asking rent in suburban areas was now £1,041 pcm, up from £940 pcm just before the pandemic.
Rural rents have leaped from £1,141 pcm to £1,264 pcm now.
Rightmove said there were more homes for urban renters to choose from, with 64 per cent of all available rental properties on the site in city locations.
Just three per cent were in countryside areas while one third were suburban areas.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data: “A desire to relocate and move to a home with more space has meant that demand has greatly outstripped supply in [the suburbs] and also in rural locations, which in turn is propping up asking rents.”
It was expected that there would be greater demand for urban rentals over the coming months with the return to office working gaining pace, Rightmove said.
Bannister added: “However, the scale of change we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic means this shift isn’t going to happen overnight, and it will be interesting to continue to monitor the lasting impacts of the pandemic on demand in the rental market for the rest of the year.”