Buy to Let Rents Rise at the Fastest Rate for Five Years

Buy-to-let rents across the country are rising at the fastest rate for five years, according to the latest official data from February 2022. 

A scarcity of homes to let and a rising number of prospective tenants looking for a property have combined to push up rents. 

Outside London, rent rises for the year to the end of January were 3 per cent for the first time since February 2017. 

However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report revealed rents in London increased by 0.1 per cent over the same period.

An ONS spokesman said: “London's rental price growth for January remains the lowest of any English region. This reflects a decrease in demand as remote working has shifted housing preferences because workers no longer need to be close to offices. It also reflects an increase in supply, such as an excess supply of rental properties as short-term lets change to long-term lets.”

East Mids landlords gain most from rent rises.

East Midlands landlords enjoyed the highest rent rises - reaching 3.8 per cent. The South West (3.5 per cent) and East of England (3.4 per cent) were close behind. London rents moved the least in the year - just 0.1 per cent up. 

The next worst performer was the North-East, where rents increased 2.2 per cent.

Buy to let rents stay above £1,000 PCM

Tenants paid on average £1,064 per month to rent a buy-to-let home in January - a rise of 8.5 per cent in a year and 0.4 per cent in a  month. The figures are agreed rents collated by tenant reference agency Homelet

Homelet says every part of the UK has seen rents rise. Tenants outside London pay an average of £897 a month, while average rents in the capital are £1,760 a month.

CEO Andy Halstead said: “We expect to see more people move home in 2022, with some choosing to wait until the ongoing effects of the pandemic have reduced before moving to a new rental property. In 2022 we’d expect to see rental values grow in line with wages and inflation, but increased demand and pressures on housing stock could see us reach record growth in 2022.”

How rents changed where you are

Delving deeper into the figures, four places saw rents fall in the month to the end of January - Yorkshire & Humberside (-1.5 per cent), the North East (-0.3 per cent), Wales (-1.2 per cent) and Northern Ireland -2.6 per cent).

RegionJan-22Jan-21Yearly changeDec-21Monthly change
North West£855£77510.30%£8441.30%
Northern Ireland£705£6488.80%£724-2.60%
South West£989£9197.60%£9830.60%
North East£578£5407.00%£580-0.30%
East Midlands£746£6986.90%£7420.50%
West Midlands£792£7416.90%£7860.80%
Yorkshire & Humberside£726£6806.80%£737-1.50%
East of England£1,035£9795.70%£1,0310.40%
South East£1,128£1,0943.10%£1,1230.40%
UK outside London£897£8396.90%£8930.40%

Source: Homelet

Guild of Landlords Rent Digest – FAQ

For landlords confused by the stats and what they mean, here are answers to the most asked questions about rents.

Why do the rent indices show different results?

Check the data carefully. Other indices cover different periods, and the samples vary between reports. The ONS has the most extensive sample, so the most reliable figures should return, but the time to collect and analyse the statistics often means the ONS data lags behind the rest of the sector. 

ARLA derives insights from letting agents and provides what's known in the trade as a sentiment survey rather than factual data. Homelet statistics come from customer data, which may not fully reflect the market.

Should landlords raise rents in line with the stats?

That's a business decision for landlords. The rent statistics indicate how the market moves but do not reflect demand from tenants and property standards in local neighbourhoods. Don't forget that the data is historical, showing what's happened rather than what will happen.

Which rent index is the best?

That's up to individual landlords. For instance, one index with a solid customer base in the same area as a landlord's portfolio may align more closely with market rents for that neighbourhood. Average data is not good if you don't have an average home, and median rents will cover everything from a room in a shared house to a four-bedroom home. Extra research with local letting agents is likely to indicate better where a landlord should pitch a competitive rent and stop them from underselling.

How has coronavirus disrupted the statistics?

Although several letting agents and property organisations publish regular rent statistics, many have been affected by the coronavirus lockdown that has their reports suspended or delayed.

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