Tenants in newly let homes saw the cost of renting fall year-on-year in February for the first time in six years, Countrywide’s letting index has revealed.
Across England, Scotland and Wales they fell by 0.6% in the year to February driven by a considerable drop in Greater London (-4.7%) and a fall in the South East (-2.6%).
When taking London out of the equation rents were up by 0.8% year-on-year, with the strongest increase taking place in Wales (5.3%), the East of England (3.1%) and Midlands.
Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “Rents are growing in most of the country but falls in London and the South East are dragging down the national growth rate.
“Recent falls in London and the South East are small in the context growth in recent years. Rents are a third higher in London and the South East than in 2007.
“Early signs point towards 2017 being a rare year where rents rise faster in the north of the country than in the south.
“While rents are likely to track any increase in earnings, affordability in London and the South East remains stretched. That is likely to limit rental growth.”