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More tenants agree to pay above asking rent - except in London

Across the UK as a whole there has been a slight increase in the number of tenants who agree to pay a rent above the asking price in order to secure the property of their choice - but in London the proportion of tenants doing the same has fallen.

Countrywide’s lettings index for August shows that in central London just eight per cent of homes were let at above asking price, falling from 17 per cent at the same time last year.  This is the lowest proportion seen in August since 2011.  

Greater London as a whole saw 13 per cent of homes let above asking rent, which is four per cent lower than the same period last year.

Nationally the proportion of homes let above asking price saw a marginal rise of 0.2 per cent. Only Wales and the North of England saw similar falls in proportion to London, dropping by three per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

The majority of rental homes are still let at asking price: in Greater London, 76 per cent of homes are now let at asking price, 10 per cent higher than last year, while in Central London, 89 per cent of homes are now let at asking price, a fifth higher than last year.  Nationally 78 per cent of homes are let at their asking price, rising by 13 per cent compared with last year.

Supply in the rental market still remains high lessening the competition between tenants to find the right home. Following both the aftermath of the stamp duty rush and changing housing market sentiment after the referendum, supply has matched or grown faster than tenant demand across the country - particularly in the South, claims Countrywide.  

Both London and the South East have seen the number of homes available to rent in August grow by 26 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, compared with the same period last year. This is faster than their tenant demand which has grown by eight per cent in London and three per cent in the South East.  

In contrast, nationally, supply grew by 26 per cent while demand grew by 17 per cent.

In Great Britain, average rents have grown to £960 a month but the lower growth rate, a feature for most of this year, continued. Rents in August increased by 1.5 per cent - well down on the 4.0 per cent growth seen at the same time last year.  

In some parts of the country this slowdown has translated into falling rents. Rents in Central London fell by two per cent while in the South East they fell by 1.4 per cent. 

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