The average rent agreed on a new tenancy signed in December was £907 according to the insurance firm HomeLet, compared to £892 in the same month of last year.
Rental price inflation was generally very stable over 2017; by contrast, rents in 2016 regularly rose at an annual rate of more than 4.0 per cent in the first half of the year, before dropping back in the second half.
The data for December 2017 also means it is likely that rents rose at a slower rate than general inflation in every month of last year, with inflation on the consumer price index measure running at 3.1 per cent.
The East Midlands recorded the highest rate of rental price inflation last month, with rents that were, on average, 4.6 per cent higher in December 2017 than in the same month of 2016.
Rents in the East Midlands now average £611 a month, remaining lower than most regions of the country other than Wales, and the North East.
Rental price inflation exceeded 3.0 per cent in three other regions last month: the South West, the North East and Northern Ireland.
By contrast, the South East of England was the only region to register a fall in rents last month, with average rents in December down 1.0 per cent on last year; rents in the South East fell on an annualised basis in every month of 2017.
Rents in Wales were completely flat last month, with every other region of the country seeing at least some increase.
The average tenancy agreed in London last month cost £1,524, compared to £1,509 a year previously.
Commenting on the data, HomeLet’s chief executive officer, Martin Totty says: “2017 was a year in which rental price inflation was modest; we actually saw average rents across the country fall during May and June, and while this was not repeated during the second half of the year, we remain some way off the much higher levels of rental price inflation that prevailed in 2015 and much of 2016.
“We continue to see a very mixed picture regionally: in areas of the country where rents rose less quickly in 2015 and 2016, rental price inflation was much higher last year; by contrast, those areas where rents were previously rising fastest have been seeing much more modest increases.”