According to the August 2012 HomeLet Rental Index, the UK’s average cost of rent increased by 2.1% from the previous month, taking us into uncharted territory, as the average UK rent has hit a record £806 per month. It is the first time the average UK rent has ever exceeded £800 per month.
To compound tenant misery further, it has been shown that tenants are actually earning less than they did last month and also last year (when comparing income levels from June, July, and August of 2011 and 2012), with the average annual income falling by 1.9% and 0.1% respectively.
London, true to form, has seen its average rent hit yet another new high, rising by 2.3% since July to £1,272. At this rate they’ll be breaking the record for most all-time records broken in a year.
Elsewhere in the country, tenants in the North-East had more reason to smile, with average rents dropping for the third consecutive year, decreasing by 3.3% to £524 per month. But it was the South-West that saw the largest annual decrease, with their average rents sinking by 3.5% to £753 per month.
HomeLet’s Managing Director, Ian Fraser, said, “The August HomeLet Rental Index shows the average age of the UK tenant has consecutively decreased over the past three years to 32. This is contrary to the average age of a first time buyer that has increased to 37 which could suggest renting a home is the only option for those would-be first time home owners.
“In addition, data from this month’s report shows less of the tenants we referenced were previously homeowners, and an increased percentage of them previously rented another home. This could be further proof that renting has become a way of life for many, as they remain in rented accommodation for longer.
“Despite mortgage payments being at a 15 year low, securing a mortgage still remains difficult, and a higher amount of people are turning to the private rented sector when moving to a new home. This has caused an increase in demand, shortage in housing supply and increasing, and now record, rents within the rental market.
“Although this is beneficial for landlords and letting agents, tenants are being stretched more than ever, and it will be interesting to see how long they’ll be able to afford these continually rising living costs.”