Latest data figures released by LSL Property Services who own the UK's largest letting agent network revealed rents rose in January for the first time in four years. Supply and demand have been blamed with a higher than average number of tenants looking for a limited number of properties.
LSL Property Services claim the average rent in England and Wales increased by 0.1% to £712 per month in January 2012, representing an annual rise of £30. Whilst the increase is small, it is the first increase since the index was compiled in 2008 and was the first monthly rise in three months.
Rental Costs Across Regions
The increases in rents did not affect all regions however with regions in the east of England and Wales seeing falls of 1.7% and 1.5% respectively. However the West midlands and the south-west saw increases of 1.8% and 1.5% respectively. In London, rents increased by 0.8%, where they have only fallen once in the last 13 months.
LSL Property Services director, David Newnes commented: "Lettings agents had already seen a higher than normal level of competition for properties over the Christmas period, and this activity had not abated".
He continued: "The rental market burst back into life unseasonably early in January, with tenants on the move trying to take advantage of what is usually a quieter period for the rental market.
"Mortgage lending has shown signs of improving in recent months, but transactions remain at almost half their historic levels and the increasing dependency on rental accommodation will drive further rent rises over the long term."
Data released by LSL also revealed rental arrears remained high in January with 10.7% of all rent late or unpaid at the end of the month. The figure was largely unaltered from December 2011 but higher than the average of 10.2% in the previous 12 months.
Rental and Debt Advice
The increased cost of renting your property can place an additional pressure on paying your unsecured debts. Rent or your mortgage would be a priority (as is gas, electricity and council tax).
When people have debt problems they should seek appropriate debt help from a debt advice charity. Debt Support Trust can be telephoned on 0800 085 0226.