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Alarm bells ring as agents across the country report rent hikes

Rents across the country are continuing to rise – ringing alarm bells as affordability becomes an increasing issue for tenants.

Only London continues to buck the national trend of rising rents, according to ARLA Propertymark, which warns that further rent hikes are likely because of Government intervention in the market.

The membership body’s February Private Rented Sector report found that only 8% of agents based in London said rents went up last month, compared with the national average of 25%.

Meanwhile, a quarter of London-based agents saw rents decrease last month, compared to just one in ten nationally.

Across the UK, the number of properties letting agents managed per branch decreased by 5% to 183, from a high of 193 in January.

But this was still up from 176 properties managed per branch this time last year.

Assessing demand in February, members reported 34 prospective tenants per branch. This is the same number as January, but down year on year with 37 registered in February 2016 and 40 in February 2015.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “The fact that rent prices in London are bucking the national trend is a positive sign for both renters and prospective renters in the capital.

“However, this isn’t being seen across the rest of the country, as the national average for the number of agents reporting rent hikes rings alarm bells. While London’s results indicate a step in the right direction, it must be taken with a pinch of salt.

“The imminent withdrawal of mortgage interest relief and the Government’s decision to ban letting agent fees, taken together, will more than likely have the opposite effect on rental costs across the country, especially if an outright ban is imposed.

“The costs of the services provided by letting agents will need to be recouped and will inevitably be passed on to renters through increased rent.”

Blog Post from Property Industry Eye

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