UK's average rents rise for first time in three months, index reports

Average rents in the UK have risen again for the first time in three months, according to a rental index.

The average monthly rent agreed on a new tenancy signed in July was £925 - rising from £915 compared with the same month last year, private rented sector insurance provider HomeLet said.

Prices rose 1.1% on average across the UK as a whole following two months of small declines of 0.3% and 0.2% in May and June respectively - the first time rents had fallen since 2009.

But the market in Greater London has yet to recover to July 2016 levels, lagging behind the rest of the country and down 0.6% on rental prices in the region last year.

The average rent in the Greater London area fell for the fourth month in a row and new tenants could expect to pay £1,564 on average, HomeLet said.

The South East and North East also saw declines on the same period last year but all other regions saw annual rental inflation, including by as much as 5.7% in Northern Ireland and 3.6% in Scotland.

HomeLet's chief executive officer, Martin Totty, said the rises could be explained by a "seasonal" increase in tenants looking to move and when rental agreements are renewed.

He added: "At the same stage last year, the South East was the main driver of UK average rents. This time around, it's regions throughout the country leading the strengthening in rents.

"If we exclude the London region, the average UK rent for a private rental property has hit a new high of £769 a month, up 1.6% on this time last year.

"Whether the market has now found some equilibrium remains to be seen, but landlords at least will be grateful for even some short respite.

"Predicting where the market heads from here is very difficult given the number of competing forces impacting the sector, either already being felt or still being contemplated."