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UK rents hit an all-time high as payments rise in all regions

The average UK rent hit an all-time high of £970 last month, according to the latest HomeLet Rental Index.

The data shows that there was an increase in rental values between August 2018 and August 2019 across all 12 regions monitored.

This time last year, the average rent across the UK was 2.4% lower - equivalent to £23. The national figure excluding London for August was £802, up by 2% (£16) on 2018.

Rent in the capital were also up on last year, hitting an average of £1,689 - up by 3.5% (equivalent to £57) when compared to August 2018.

Martin Totty, HomeLet's chief executive, says the private rented sector has been 'resilient' in contrast to a 'subdued' sales market.

"In times of uncertainty people tend to defer major purchases - opting to wait for the turbulent times to pass - and there is nothing more 'major' than buying property."

Totty says that ongoing Brexit uncertainty means more people are choosing to rent rather than risk entering the property market at the wrong point in the cycle.

"As well as the long-term trend underpinning the private rented sector, recent months have produced growth towards the upper end of the inflation range observed over the past few years."

He says many people would have predicted this as an 'inevitable consequence' of the ban on upfront fees charged to tenants, which was introduced on June 1 2019.

"Faced with higher expenses, higher taxation and greater regulation, savvy property owners were always likely to seek to recover these increased charges."

Totty argues that landlords are now starting to 'exercise' the 'pricing power' they hold thanks to strong demand for rental stock, wage growth and a near all-time high level of employment.

"Perhaps after all that was an acceptable outcome for all sides. Intended or unintended, it does start to appear to be the consequence," he says.

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