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Rent costs have fallen for the first time in six years

Alexandra Sims

Thanks to sky-high rents and crappy landlords, being a tenant in London can be pretty depressing, not to mention damn expensive. But it looks like there’s finally some good news: the average monthly rent in Britain has fallen for the first time since 2010 – and it's all down to big drops in rents in London and the south-east. According to estate agency Countrywide, the average new tenancy in the capital fell by nearly 5 percent over the past year to an average of £1,246 a month; that means tenants are paying £63 a month less on average compared to last year. In south-east England rents fell by nearly 3 percent to £1,152 a month.  

The reason? Well, the folks at Countrywide reckon it’s down to a recent increase in the number of rental properties available in London, which is partly due to landlords rushing to buy property before a 3 percent stamp duty surcharge came into effect last year. There’s also been a drop in the number of people looking for homes, with a fall of 3 percent in London and 5 percent in the south-east in the past year. 

What's more, elsewhere in the UK rents have continued to rise (albeit at a slower rate), but the falls in rent in the south have had a knock-on effect on the average new tenancy nationally, which has dropped by 0.6 percent in the year to February 2017 to £921 a month. ‘Rents are growing in most of the country but falls in London and the south-east are dragging down the national growth rate,’ said Countrywide. ‘Early signs point towards 2017 being a rare year when rents rise faster in the north of the country than in the south.’

It may sound too good to be true, and it sort of is. The average rent in Britain is still £112 higher than in 2007 when rents last peaked. And Countrywide’s research results differ from recent data released by the Office for National Statistics, which showed UK rents had risen by 2.2 percent for private tenants for the year to January 2017. Looks like there’s no need to crack open the champagne just yet, then. 

Photo: Joris Photography/Flickr.

In other news, this is what the Monopoly board looks like with London’s current rent costs and house prices.

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