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Landlords raise rent on more than half of properties in England: ONS

A Savills property estate agent sign is displayed outside a home in south London

By Suban Abdulla

LONDON (Reuters) - Private-sector landlords in England increased rents on more than half of homes in the year to February, up from just over a third a year earlier, further tightening the squeeze on households amid a cost of living surge, new analysis found on Friday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysed data collected every 12 months about privately-rented homes, revisiting the properties to track price changes over time.

It said that among homes visited in February 2023, 50.6% had seen an increase in rents in the past year, up from 36.0% in February 2022. In London the proportion was even higher, with rents rising on 66.8% of properties.

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British households have been contending with double-digit price rises since September as the cost of food and energy bills surged and face a record fall in living standards over the two years to March 2024, according to government forecasters.

Where rents did rise, the average increase was 9.7%, up from 7.0% a year earlier. Rent increases were bigger in London, at an average of 12.0%.

Broader consumer price inflation was 10.4% in February.

The ONS said the size of London's private rental market had a strong influence on the English average, and noted that rents had fallen in the capital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separate ONS data, published on Wednesday, showed private-sector rents for residential property across Britain as a whole grew by 4.7% in the 12 months to February - the largest annual increase since records started in 2016.

(Reporting by Suban Abdulla; editing by Jonathan Oatis)