Rents across Britain fell annually for the first time in more than six years, according to Countrywide data.
February’s Countrywide Lettings Index shows that new rents in Great Britain fell 0.6% year-on-year to £921 a month, the first annual drop since November 2010.
The fall in the average national rent was driven by London and the South-East where the cost of a new let fell 4.7% and 2.6% respectively to £2,359 and £1,152.
The agent said the slowdown in average rental growth is driven by a fall in the number of tenants looking for a home combined with higher numbers of homes available to rent in London and the South-East.
While across the country there were 5% more tenants looking for a home than at the same time as last year, London and the South-East had falls of 3% and 5% respectively.
There were 10% more homes available to rent nationally in February 2017 than last year, but the rate of growth has halved since last month, Countrywide said.
Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “Rents are growing in most of the country but falls in London and the South-East are dragging down the national growth rate.
“Recent falls in London and the South-East are small in the context growth in recent years. Rents are a third higher in London and the South-East than in 2007.
“Early signs point towards 2017 being a rare year where rents rise faster in the north of the country than in the south. While rents are likely to track any increase in earnings, affordability in London and the South-East remains stretched. That is likely to limit rental growth.