Rents are rising faster in northern cities than those in the south, narrowing the divide between the two halves of the country according to Countrywide.
Over the last 12 months the cost of a new city let in the north grew 4.6 per cent faster than in the south, where rental growth has slowed in most urban locations.
Of the 20 largest cities, the five which have seen the cost of a new let rise the fastest are all in northern England or Scotland. Manchester has seen the highest growth, with the rents of new lets rising 7.1 per cent over the last year, faster than anywhere else in Britain and more than three times faster than the national average.
York, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow make up the rest of the top five – all have seen the rate of rental growth pick up over the last three months.
Most southern cities have seen rental growth slow this year.
Seven of the 10 cities where rents are growing most slowly are in southern England led by Oxford, Cambridge and London seeing the largest slowdown. In the capital, rents are rising fastest in outer London, while across central and inner London they remain broadly unchanged on last year.
The proportion of landlords cutting the asking rent has doubled over the last 12 months in cities in southern England. In September, Cambridge (18 per cent) and London (17 per cent) saw the largest proportion of homes with a cut in the asking rent.
A spike in the number of homes available to rent since the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge in April has given tenants more choice, increased competition among landlords and slowed the rate of rental growth.
“Brexit-induced uncertainty has continued to boost to the rental market. Overall this is yet to stoke rental inflation, but September saw record activity with increasing numbers of lets agreed and tenants choosing to renew their contracts. On current trends, 2017 could be the first time since the 1930s that more homes are let than sold” says Countrywide’s research director Johnny Morris.