Devon and Cornwall outstripping London as rent rockets to record levels
Rents have rocketed to record levels across the Westcountry, with industry experts saying there is no let-up on the horizon.
According to figures published today, average rents for the region in September stand at £641 – an increase of nearly 2% in one month alone.
Richard Copus, of Devon estate agents Woods, said prices were positively galloping upwards.
"Rents are rocketing at the moment," he said. "There is a still a shortage of housing and it is being reflected in the rental market."
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Mr Copus, who is the regional spokesman for the National Association of Estate Agents, said the property market in London often distorted the picture in terms of what was happening regionally.
However, he said that in terms of rentals, the increases in the Westcountry were outstripping those in the capital.
"It has become more socially acceptable to rent," he said.
"There are people who are living in rental because they can't see the point in buying at the moment when there will be no capital appreciation on their asset.
"There are also a lot of young people who still cannot afford to buy."
Mr Copus said that while £641 was the average price to rent a house, people looking for a place in the country or particularly desirable areas would pay a great deal more.
The figures were compiled by LSL Property Services, which owns the UK's largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.
According to the company's research, rents now stand at levels £13 per month higher than the previous all-time record, set in October 2012.
Seven out of ten regions have seen individual all-time record rents.
Yields – how much a landlord actually makes in profit – are also up by nearly 4 per cent.
However, arrears are also up, with the total amount of rent paid late now standing at £31 million nationwide.
David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said with household budgets under pressure and the economy taking "baby steps" towards recovery, the trending of renting would continue.
"A new peak in tenant demand has driven rents to new heights, well above all previous records," he said. "Higher rents in almost every region show that, despite government schemes, buying a first home is still a difficult aspiration. This is not only down to low salary growth, but also a general shortage of supply – which is the underlying reason why homes are getting more expensive.
"The long term-trend to renting therefore looks unlikely to change significantly in the near future, despite the better availability of finance compared to previous years."