Average residential property rents in the UK fell nationally in the first quarter of 2013 with Scotland taking over as the most expensive region in the north of the country, according to new figures. The national average rent is stable at £969 per month, although in London rents have fallen stabilising at around £2,181 per month by the end of March, the Move with Us Rental Index shows for the first three months of the year.
Overall the average advertised rent fell by around 0.43% in the first quarter of 2013. After an initial fall just after the Christmas slowdown, rents stabilised throughout late January and February before falling by a further 0.25% in March. However, the firm says that this is a relatively small change and if examined as part of a yearly trend, average rents are in fact stable, fluctuating at around £969 per month. This highlights that rents are at equilibrium, with changes in supply causing minor fluctuations in the prices, according to Robin King, director, Move with Us.
‘The current quarterly trend suggests that rents could fall further in the coming months, though if this is the case it should be by less than 0.5%. However, the long term trend indicates that advertised rents are more likely to remain at a similar figure, with possible increases close to the rate of inflation,’ he explained.
However, behind the figures are what King described as ‘significant changes’ in the regional trends when compared to the second half of 2012. As advertised rents in the North grew at a slower pace than 2012, the South of England remains much stronger than the rest of the country with a £121 gap between the cheapest southern region and the most expensive of all other regions.
In comparison, the North East and East Midlands have seen some of the largest price increases of 2012 offset by a fall in advertised rents in the first quarter. While advertised rents in both London and Wales fell for a second quarter, the rents in these regions have now returned to levels close to those of January 2012.
The most consistent regions in the first quarter of 2013 were Scotland and East Anglia, with rental prices in both increasing at a steady rate throughout. Advertised rents in Scotland appear to have recovered from a difficult end to 2012, seeing two successive quarters of stable rental price growth which is likely to continue throughout 2013. Yorkshire and Humber remains on an upward growth path, despite rents falling in the early part of the quarter.
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Advertised rents also increased in the North West and South East, though they remained at around the same level throughout March. Advertised rents in Greater London fell to £2,181 per month, extending the current trend to a third quarter. The market did recover slightly in February, though by the end of March this was offset as rents fell further.
Kings said that proportionally, this is not incredibly significant, marking a 1.69% fall at the end of the quarter. Furthermore, the rate with which advertised rents have fallen has halved, suggesting that the market is close to equilibrium.