Rents rising at twice the rate of wages

Rents hit a new record high in May after four successive months of rises, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc.

Last month, the average rent in England and Wales rose by 0.5% to £696 per month, overtaking the previous high of £692 in April.

The average rent is now £30 per month higher than May 2010, an annual inflation of 4.4%. The average yield remained at a record high of 5.1% in May.

LSL Property Services, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains, said the figures hid huge regional variations. In the past year, rents have risen in all but two regions in England and Wales. Rents have risen the fastest in London, where they increased 7.8% in the past year. The next biggest rises were in the North East, and the East Midlands where rents increased by 6.4% and 6.2% respectively. In the last year, average rents have only fallen in the South West, where they declined by 0.4%, and the East of England, where they have fallen by 1.2%.

Over the last month, rents increased the fastest in the East of England and the North East, rising by 1.4% and 1.1% respectively. Rents only declined in three regions – the West Midlands, where they fell by 0.7%, the South West and Wales, where rents fell by 0.6% and 0.2% respectively.

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “Tenant demand has been especially bubbly in recent months. Soaring inflation has taken its toll on would-be buyers’ deposit funds. The rocketing cost of living