UK rents grew by a tiny 0.56 per cent in 2017 according to specialist lender Landbay.
However, in a special exercise, the firm also calculated how London commuters who rent have been hit by increases - and the research shows that tenants in almost half of London’s most popular commuter towns face a greater overall financial burden from growing rents than from train fares.
Of the capital’s 40 commuter belt hotspots, all found in the East or South East of England, 17 towns are being hit with a double blow, with extra annual expenditure on rail fares surpassed by spending on higher rents.
Average rents in these 17 towns rose by an average of £183 (1.68 per cent) in the year to December, while rail fares have jumped by an average of £142 (3.6 per cent).
Combining annual rental and rail fare increases, commuters in these regions are facing a total additional outlay of £325 a year.
Cambridge and Brighton have seen the greatest monetary rise in rents, £228 (2.06 per cent) and £202 (1.58 per cent) respectively, as rail fares in both regions rose by £172 and £163.
A further six towns in London’s commuter belt saw rents rise by more than one per cent in 2017, double that of the UK average.
Luton, Hastings, Basingstoke, Ashford, Canterbury and Horsham have seen rents rise by an average of £146, almost as much as the average £166 increase in rail fares.
Commuters living in Guildford, Reigate and Woking, which all saw rents fall by £127 (0.73 per cent) in 2017, will be saving enough to offset the rail fare hikes of £126, £99 and £113 respectively.
Those in Aylesbury and High Wycombe (£43) and Slough (£4), have also made rent savings, but hardly enough to chip away at the £141, £124 and £91 increase to train fares.
Landbay says there are now signs that demand for low-rent accommodation by long-distance commuters to London is pushing up rents in these areas.