The cost of renting a property grew by the highest rate this year in August

Houses in Norwich. 

Houses in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

The cost of renting a private property grew by 2.4% in August, according to new figures, the highest rate of growth in the sector this year.

British families are now paying out an average of £939 per month for accommodation, the HomeLet Rental Index found.

HomeLet, which offers specialist insurance for rental properties, said that rents in London have reached their highest since the company launched the index in 2009.

Rents in London rose 2.5% in August following three months of decline, reaching an average of £1,609.

It is the first time rents in London have been above and average of £1,600.

Across the UK as a whole average rents rose by 2.4% in August compared to the same month last year.

It is the highest rate of annual inflation since November 2016 and the average monthly rent now stands at £939, compared to £916 in August last year.

If London is excluded from the figures, the average rent across the UK is £776, up 2.3% year-on-year.

Rents rose in 11 out of the 12 regions of the UK.

They rose the fastest in the South West of England, up by 3.9% compared to August 2016, while over the same period rates in Northern Ireland rose by 3.7%.

The only place to see a decline in rents with the South East, which fell by 0.2% on average.

HomeLet’s chief executive Martin Totty said: “Whether the recent strengthening in rents achieved, seen generally across all regions of the country, is driven by more robust demand or by some restriction of supply is hard to judge.

“Either way, landlords will only be encouraged to invest in property over other assets if they’re convinced they can achieve reasonable returns.

“If not, then the supply of rental properties could become constrained.

“Many landlords still face further increases in their costs and so will need to find a new equilibrium between their legitimate required returns and affordability for tenants.

“It seems the elements in solving that particular equation become ever more complex.”

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