Rents hit record high as demand for two-bed houses increases

Average rents stand at £1,188 pcm in the East of England, an annual increase of 2.3 per cent. Picture: Getty...

Average rents stand at £1,188 pcm in the East of England, an annual increase of 2.3 per cent. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rents have rocketed outside the capital, thanks to record demand from tenants.

According to Rightmove, asking rents outside London now stand at an all-time high of £964 per month, while in the East of England – which includes Hertfordshire – the average is £1,188 pcm, an annual increase of 2.3 per cent.

The property portal said London is the only UK region where rents are falling, down 6.8 per cent in Inner London, while Outer London is up by 0.8 per cent.

There has also been a shift in demand, with two-bed houses replacing studio flats as the most sought-after property type. Availability of this type of house has dipped by 46 per cent outside London year-on-year as post-lockdown renters seek space to work from home.

Total rental stock is up by 20 per cent on a year ago UK-wide, though available stock has increased by just 2 per cent, meaning stiff competition.

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Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said: “I’ve heard from some agents that they’re now advising their landlords to turn part of the living room into a work from home space, or offering to install high-speed broadband for tenants as an added incentive.

“The rise in demand for properties that have more space and that typically have higher rents is helping push up average rents to new record highs.”

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In related news, Watford has come fifth in a countdown of the 10 worst cities for buy-to-let landlords to invest in. CIA Landlord compared average house prices and rental costs UK-wide to rank the best and worst cities and house types to invest in, with Salford coming out on top.

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