Rents in London surging at record rate over £2000 per month

Official figures in a report that highlights London’s housing crisis show that home rental costs rose at a record rate in February. This added almost PS200 ($342) per month to the renters’ monthly payments.

The Office for National Statistics reported that private rents in February rose 10.6 percent compared to a year earlier, and Brent was the area with the highest increase in UK.

The ONS has been collecting data since 2005. This was the second consecutive month with double-digit growth. In London, the average rent is more than PS2,000 per month. This was more than double the average increase of 9 percent in rents throughout the UK. It was also the fastest rental price rise on record.

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Figures show that tenants continue to be squeezed financially, even though the cost of living crisis is beginning to subside. This is likely to further erode the already low support among young people for Prime Minister Rishi-Sunak’s Conservative Government ahead of a possible general election later in this year.

Renters are particularly affected by the crisis in London, where a limited supply of rental units is not enough to meet the demand. The Centre for Cities published a study earlier this week that showed London’s population had bounced back following a “race for space”, which saw people move out of the city during the pandemic.

UK brokerage firms have stated that the current rate of increase in housing prices is unsustainable and hinders first-time home buyers from getting on to the property ladder.

They fear that renters will be worse off as the government has abandoned first-time home buyers and squeezed landlords.

This was the first time that the ONS released updated rental data to explore trends in local areas. Brent rents increased by 20% in February. Islington Greenwich Sutton and Westminster are among the London Boroughs that have seen double-digit increases.

Brent had the highest rental price growth in the UK, Melton the lowest. Kensington & Chelsea saw the highest rental prices and Dumfries & Galloway the lowest.

The report also stated that the price of houses fell by 0.6 percent in the year to January, to PS282,000. This is the lowest annual drop since August. Prices rose by 0.5 percent compared to last December.

These figures confirm more recent data from Halifax and Nationwide Building Society, which indicated that prices were rising as the housing market defrosted.

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