Tenants trying to find cheaper and better value letting properties than those available in London are moving outside the capital - and pushing up rents as a result.
That is the main headline of the first Rightmove rental sector asking price index, published today.
It says this surge of tenants looking outside London has pushed up asking rents in the South East by 4.1 per cent in the past quarter. In the South West rents have risen 3.0 per cent during the same period. London rose at a more modest 2.0 per cent.
Outside of London the average rent went up across England and Wales by 2.7 per cent, with all regions up on last quarter except Wales (which fell 2.9 per cent) and North East (down a tiny 0.5 per cent).
“The smaller rise in the capital is likely to do with the fact that costs in many areas are nearing many people’s affordability ceiling” says Sam Mitchell, head of lettings at Rightmove.
Average asking rents per month in London (£2,052) are now almost twice that of the second most expensive region.
While nationally rents have risen 4.2 per cent over the past year, two of the highest growth areas are in the East of England county of Hertfordshire – Bushey (up 21 per cent) and Stevenage (up 13 per cent). Deal in Kent has also seen a price rise of 13 per cent over the past year.
In London, rental prices have grown highest in Battersea, aided by the ongoing redevelopment of the area, up 14 per cent over the past year. Wembley and Brondesbury are second and third, both up by 11 per cent.
“Tenants staying longer in a property is contributing to the lack of supply in some areas, and agents tell us that in the most in-demand areas good properties on at the right price are being snapped up within a few days. In the fastest moving areas prospective tenants are sending email enquiries to agents within a few minutes of the property being marketed on Rightmove” says Mitchell.