UK Property Rental Prices Rise at Fastest Pace Since 2016

Rents paid by private tenants in the UK increased by 5.1% in the year to June — the largest increase since official records began in 2016.

(Bloomberg) — Rents paid by private tenants in the UK increased by 5.1% in the year to June — the largest increase since official records began in 2016. 

London rents alone jumped by 5.3%, according to the Office for National Statistics, up from 5.1% a month earlier and the highest since September 2012. 

The figures emphasize the headwinds facing the UK housing market, as interest rates keep rising and add to mortgage costs. Those trends are forcing landlords to bump up their rents, while deterring buyers.

The ONS also said house prices recorded by the Land Registry increased by just 1.9% in the year to May to an average of £286,000, slower than the 3.2% gain recorded in April.

More up-to-date figures from lenders Nationwide Building Society and Halifax have also showed house prices falling. Nationwide’s monthly house price index showed annual declines of 3.5% for June, quickening the pace from a month earlier which was already the steepest drop since 2009. Halifax said its lending data implied house prices were falling at their fastest annual pace since 2011.

“UK annual house price inflation slowed again in May for the seventh consecutive month,” said Aimee North, ONS head of housing market indices. While house prices are still higher than they were a year ago, they are now £7,000 ($9,053) below the recent peak in September 2022. 

Inflation data released earlier on Wednesday indicated that mortgage holders, who have been weighed down by a string of 13 consecutive hikes in the Bank of England’s base rate, may soon be in for some relief. 

Consumer prices rose at a rate of 7.9% in June, down from 8.7% a month earlier and undershooting market expectations of 8.2%. Two-year interest rate swaps, used to price mortgages, fell around 20 basis points on Wednesday morning, as traders reduced their bets on the BOE peak rate hike. 

Renters, however, are less likely to see an immediate reprieve. The ONS noted that demand for properties was still strong, while stock levels remained insufficient. The mismatch between supply and demand continued to grow in June, the ONS said, citing a report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents which showed a 57% increase in the mismatch since June 2022.

The official figures include the whole stock of UK rents, but newly let properties are commanding much higher prices. Zoopla reported annual inflation was 10.4% in the 12 months to May 2023, while Rightmove and HomeLet reported rises of 10.8% and 10.4% respectively in the year to June. 


–With assistance from Jill Namatsi.

(Adds graph, further context from the report in paragraph nine.)

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