Britain's largest letting agency says rents grew by an average of 3.1 per cent in 2015, taking the average monthly rent to £919pcm.
Rents rose in every region of Britain with the East of England seeing the highest growth - 6.5 per cent - and Central London the lowest with a mere 0.5 per cent.
Some 34 per cent of tenants who renewed their tenancies faced higher rents, an increase of seven per cent from 2014. However, the average rent for renewing tenancies only grew by 1.3 per cent, much less than for those moving into a new home.
The continuing imbalance between supply and demand has intensified competition for homes in the market, says Countrywide.
The average property is now let within 20 days of being instructed - two days quicker than it was in 2014.
Greater London as a whole saw a slowdown in rental growth in 2015 compared with 2014 yet rents still rose by 4.7 per cent on average. Affordability issues have kicked in across London; the proportion of under 25s living in the rental sector in the capital fell by four per cent in 2015, the continuation of a longer term trend.
Surrounding regions in the South of England have seen small growth in the proportion of under 25s in their market, as Londoners look further afield for more affordable markets.
“2016 looks to be a complicated year for landlords as the government focuses its efforts on boosting homeownership. The additional 3% stamp duty charge, stricter regulation and changes to tax relief from 2017 onwards will all take their toll on investor sentiment and impact behaviour" admits Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.
“With stock at a premium, the smaller landlords who decide to sell up will add upward pressure to rents, although any rises will be tempered by affordability pressures” he warns.