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UK rent rises forecast to slow as tenant competition eases - Rightmove

FILE PHOTO: New residential homes are seen at a housing estate in Aylesbury

LONDON (Reuters) - Soaring growth in the cost of rents in Britain is expected to cool as an increase in the number of homes on the market helped to cool competition between tenants in late 2022, data published on Friday showed.

Property website Rightmove said tenant competition dropped by 6% between October and December compared with the same period in 2021, and was down by a third from September, when the gap between supply of home and demand from tenants reached the highest since records started in 2012.

Demand last September was up by 20% from a year earlier while the supply of available properties to rent fell by 9%.

Tim Bannister, director of property at Rightmove, said the pace of rent rises looked set to slow this year despite demand remaining strong.

"There appears to be some more property choice for renters compared to the record low levels of last year which would slightly ease the fierce competition to secure a home," Bannister said.

The number of available homes to rent was up by 13% compared with a year earlier, the biggest annual jump since May 2013.

"This is why we're forecasting that the pace of annual growth (in rents) will ease to around 5% by the end of the year nationally although this would still significantly exceed the average of 2% that we saw during the five years before the pandemic," Bannister said.

Average monthly rent sought by landlords outside London in 2022 was 9.7% higher than in 2021. In the capital, they rose by 15.7%.

The survey showed the average rent being asked across Britain excluding London hit a fresh record high of 1,172 pounds ($1,453.05) per month in the fourth quarter. In the capital, average asking rents surged to 2,480 pounds a month and were above 3,000 pounds in inner London for the first time.

($1 = 0.8066 pounds)

(Reporting by Suban Abdulla; Editing by William Schomberg)