Rental growth reaches 16-year high, says Rightmove


Average asking rents outside of London hit another new record of £1,126 per calendar month (pcm), rising 3.5% from last quarter and by 11.8% compared to last year, according to Rightmove.

This increase in average asking rents means that rents outside of the capital are increasing at the highest annual rate Rightmove has ever recorded in 16 years of reporting. Rents have now risen by 19%, or £177, on average since the pandemic started two years ago.

By contrast, it took eight years pre-pandemic to reach the same level of growth, illustrating the rapid rise in asking rents since the start of the pandemic. This quarter’s 3.5% jump is the second highest quarterly rise in ten years.

Rents in the capital also continue to rise as London reaches a new record average asking rent of £2,257 pcm this quarter. Annual growth in asking rents in London is now at 15.8%, the fastest ever rate of any region.

Rising rents continue to be driven by a shortage of available rental stock, with low volumes struggling to meet high tenant demand over the past two years.

Although there is still a shortage of available homes to rent, there continues to be signs of this improving. The number of new rental listings is up 8% since the start of the year. June saw the highest number of new rental listings coming to market of any month this year so far.

Despite these encouraging signs, available rental stock is still down 26% compared to last year’s levels, while demand is up 6%, which means competition between tenants remains extremely fierce.

As high tenant demand continues to overtake last year’s exceptional levels, and available rental stock is slow to recover, Rightmove now expect average asking rent growth to reach 8% by the end of the year, up from 5% predicted at the start of the year.

Affordability analysis from Rightmove shows that due to historically low interest rates, average mortgage payments on properties with two-bedrooms or fewer have risen by 13% in the last ten years, while equivalent rental payments on the same properties have risen by 40%.

Despite challenges such as navigating legislation changes and potential updates to EPC requirements, more landlords are planning to expand their portfolio than reduce it, a sign of confidence in the market, research by the property portal found.

A third – 34% – of landlords recently surveyed said they plan to expand their portfolio during the next 12 months compared with 11% who plan to reduce the number of homes they rent out.

Rightmove’s director of Property Science, Tim Bannister, said: “The story of the rental market continues to be one of high tenant demand but not enough available homes to meet that demand. Last year we saw exceptional numbers of tenants looking to move and this year we have seen no let-up in this trend.

“Whilst stock levels are beginning to improve, with June seeing the highest number of new rental listings coming to market so far this year, the wide gap that has been created between supply and demand over the last two years will take time to narrow. Until then, this imbalance will continue to support asking rent growth. This has led to our revised forecast of a 8% rise in asking rents by the end of the year up from 5%.”

Agents’ Views

Nicola Fleet-Milne, CEO at FleetMilne in Birmingham, said: “Q2 2022 has seen a sharp increase in rental prices in Birmingham City Centre; a hangover of the stifled growth throughout the pandemic. Couple this with a lack of good quality stock, and the result is an applicant base looking for homes 6-10 weeks in advance of their need. This is a huge increase from 2021 where applicants typically searched around 4-6 weeks in advance of their need.

“Older stock is falling dramatically behind the standards of the new units coming through, and whilst initially, they may demand similar rents, as more developments complete, the older stock may be relegated to a markedly lower price band.”

Richard Davies, MD of Chestertons, added: “Throughout Q2 of this year, London’s rental market has seen continuous growth in tenant enquiries as well as in the number of tenants extending their rental agreements. Those who secured a property at a discounted rental rate during the pandemic are keen to hold on to this deal as long as possible, particularly in the face of rising living costs. #

“With the return of office workers, international students and corporate tenants alike, London’s rental market has also seen an unprecedented corporate demand that is outstripping supply. This has created an extremely competitive market for tenants where many offer landlords over asking price in order to secure a property.”


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