The average monthly rent in the UK is now £1,007, up 5.9% from this time last year, according to figures released by HomeLet this month.
Despite the big change, numbers didn’t rise evenly throughout the UK. London saw a small increase, while other cities saw prices going up as much as 8%.
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How do UK rent prices vary from city to city?
Prices are going up in most areas of the country, though some are feeling the pinch more than others. The highest annual price rise can be seen in the South West of England, where prices have gone up more than 10% since June 2020.
Other areas are seeing increases but at a more reasonable rate. In Wales, rents have only gone up 0.6% and rents in the North West have increased just 1.1%. Scotland and Northern Ireland have seen bigger increases at 4.4% and 3.1%, respectively.
Compared to the UK average, prices in London have seen much less movement. While rent has risen 1.5% in London (resulting in average rent of £1,607), this is still lower than the pre-COVID figure of £1,611 in the summer of 2019.
According to Andy Halstead, chief executive officer at HomeLet & Let Alliance, “The impact of Brexit on international tenants has been exacerbated by the pandemic, noticeably in London.
“But after a year where demand and rental values have dipped, we can expect to see growth again as the impact of the pandemic gradually subsides.”
What’s causing the UK rent increase?
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the government rightly took measures to protect tenants but didn’t go far enough to balance the protection for landlords,” according to Halstead.
Now that things are reopening and the market is hoping for a recovery, landlords are starting to pass on their increased costs to tenants.
“Some people might be shocked to see the average UK rental price tip over the £1,000 mark, yet supply and demand dynamics will only continue to drive rental prices upwards for the rest of the year, and we’ll see more records broken in 2021,” Halstead added.
Can you afford to rent?
The property market has been hot in the UK for years, with sale prices growing even more during the pandemic. In fact, the average price of a home went up £22,000 between June 2020 and June 2021.
For those who have found buying to be financially possible, renting has always been there as an option. But renting isn’t necessarily that much cheaper anymore. According to recent data, it’s just £71 cheaper to rent in the UK than it is to buy. With rental prices still increasing, the difference might get even smaller in the next few months.
What if you can’t afford your rent?
Citizens Advice recommends looking into benefits or grants if you’re really struggling to pay your rent in the UK. Universal Credit (UC) is available for those on a low income or people who have lost their jobs (whether pandemic related or not).
If you don’t qualify for benefits, budgeting loans are available to cover your rent. You should also talk to your landlord right away and contact your nearest Citizens Advice to find out if there are other options available.
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