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Revealed: UK's most expensive and cheapest places for property rents

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Rental prices soar to record high
UK rents are up 9.7% on pre-pandemic levels, but most of the increases have happened this year, according to the HomeLet Rental Index. Photo: Getty

London was the most expensive part of the UK for renters in September, with rents averaging £1,752 per calendar month (pcm) — an annual increase of 6.4%. The capital saw the biggest monthly jump in the country, with prices rising 2.3%.

The North East of England remains the cheapest area of the UK for renting, with prices averaging £578 pcm — an increase of 1% compared to a month before and up 3.6% from 2020, according to new figures from the HomeLet rental index.

The average rent in the UK surged to a record high of £1,061 per calendar month (pcm) in September, 7.5% higher than the same time last year, and up 0.8% from a month before. 

Watch: Easy budgeting tips for when you leave home

Excluding the capital, the average UK rent price rose to £891 pcm, up 7.6% year-on-year.

The index also revealed South East of England is the second most expensive region for renting, with prices averaging £1,139 pcm, a 6.1% increase from 2020. Rental prices in the East of England averaged £1,021, a 5.6% rise year-on-year and the South West saw rents go up by 7.6% to £971.

Annual change in UK rent prices. Infographic: HomeLet Rental Index
Annual change in UK rent prices. Infographic: HomeLet Rental Index

Northern Ireland comes in second on the list of cheapest places to rent, with average monthly rents of £705 pcm. Yorkshire and the Humber came in at number three with rents averaging £725, followed by Wales (£734) and the East Midlands (£735).

All UK regions experienced a year-on-year price rise. Wales saw the biggest increase, with priced going up by 12.9%. Scotland was in second place with priced rising 10.8% year-on-year.

Read more: UK house prices hit record high yet again

UK rents are up 9.7% on pre-pandemic levels, but most of the increases have happened this year, according to the HomeLet Rental Index.

In September, the average household spent 29.6% of their gross income on rent, compared with 30.9% in September 2019, before the pandemic.

Renters in London spend the greatest percentage of their income on rent — and average of 33.7%.

The North West is the most affordable, with renters spending 22.1% of their income on rent.

The North West saw the greatest change in affordability in the year to September 2021. Renters are now spending on average 27.2% of their income on rent, improved from 29% 12 months ago.

Percentage of income spent on rent across UK regions. Infographic: HomeLet Rental Index
Percentage of income spent on rent across UK regions. Infographic: HomeLet Rental Index

“Typically, rental prices rise in line with inflation and wage growth; that’s something we’ve continued to see. Despite record rents, tenants moving home spend a similar percentage of their income on their monthly rent," said Matthew Carter, HomeLet & Let Alliance head of marketing.

Read more: Buyers search for homes near commuter stations as workers return to offices

“Housing follows the same fundamental laws of economics as other goods that consumers need. Ultimately demand, coupled with lower stock levels for certain types of property, are driving up rental values. The concern is that we’re at a point where there are some areas with exceptionally high demand.

“Landlords and the lettings market have faced a continued raft of changes and legislation; the government needs to carefully consider how any future policy might impact the 4.5 million households in the private rented sector. The government's push on homeownership shouldn’t be done to the detriment of an industry that plays a critical role in UK housing.”

Watch: Am I wasting my money by renting?

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