Average monthly UK rent is now at its lowest level for three years according to the Deposit Protection Service.
Average rent fell to £757 during the first quarter of 2019, with tenants paying £5 less than the previous quarter and over £14 lower than a year earlier.
The decrease continues the overall downward trend seen during much of 2018 and the DPS says that it may be in part driven by a reluctance among tenants to move until after the government’s tenant fees ban comes into force on June 1.
“The depressed market for rents is part of the larger slowdown that began during the summer of 2016 and which we believe is linked to broad economic factors affecting spending power and demand in the UK” explains Daren King, head of tenancy deposit protection at the DPS.
“We also believe that the rental market may be experiencing a period of tenant inactivity driven by uncertainty ahead of the imminent enforcement of the ban on tenancy fees. Even after a long period of stagnation, we don’t see many signs of a recovery anytime soon and it is possible there will be more quarters of low or negative growth this year” he adds.
Of the UK regions only the South West, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales experienced increases in average rent, although all were minimal, with the South West seeing the biggest at 0.63 per cent.
London remains by far the most expensive region in which to rent property.
The capital has seen consistent average rents over the past three quarters, following a sharper drop in the first half of 2018.
The North East remains the cheapest region in which to rent property with an average of £513 during Q1 2019: just over £244 lower than the national average.
On average, the UK population spent 31 per cent of their wages on rent in Q1 2019.
The proportion is highest in London (41 per cent) and lowest in Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East (24 per cent).