The latest Rental Index from Goodlord has recorded a sizeable increase in the cost of rent during March – taking averages to their highest levels since August 2021.
This has been accompanied by a noticeable drop in voids across England, which are now at their lowest level since last summer. Alongside this, average tenant salaries have also risen – increasing by 2.7% and hitting the highest levels on Goodlord record.
The average cost of rent across the country rose by 4% between February and March – increasing from £968 to £1,006 per property on average. A rise was recorded in every region monitored.
The last time rental prices surpassed this level was in August 2021, when the average cost of a rental property in England hit £1,097.
The biggest regional shift was seen in the North West, where average rents rose by 6% over the last month (up from £770 to £819). A rise of 5% was seen in the West Midlands and in Greater London. Prices rose by 4.5% in the South West.
However, in good news for tenants, the average salary for renters across England also rose during March. Salary averages were up by 2.7% in England – increasing from £28,781 per tenant, to £29,549. This is the highest average salary rate for England ever recorded by the Index.
As prices rose, voids came down. During March, average void levels across England hit their lowest levels since August 2021. The average void period for a property in England dropped by 18 days to 16 days on average – a reduction of 11%.
The biggest change in voids was seen in the West Midlands, which has consistently recorded higher-than-average void periods for several months. In March, however, voids dropped from 22 days to just 16 days – a big swing downwards of 27%.
Greater London, the North West and the South West all recorded significant reductions in voids of between 10 and 15%.
The only region to see an increase was the East Midlands, where voids crept up from 18 days on average to 19 days – a 5% uplift. The East Midlands also recorded the smallest increase in the cost of rent amongst the regions monitored, indicating weaker demand for rental properties in the region.
Tom Mundy, COO at Goodlord, commented:
“March was a really big month for the market. We’re now back to the rental costs and void periods seen last summer, when the sector was last breaking records.
“Over the last month, rents have jumped up quite significantly and voids are much lower than they have been all winter. This is all indicative of high demand and low supply. It’s a reminder of the need to keep as many landlords in the sector as possible, to ensure demand can be met.
“These numbers also point to the fact that rising rents will add an additional burden to renters as the cost of living crisis continues to affect all aspects of the economy, despite the accompanying rise in average salary per tenant.”