February’s Countrywide Lettings Index shows that rents in Great Britain were lower than in the same month last year, the first annual drop since November 2010.
Nationally rents fell 0.6% over the last year and in February the average rent in Great Britain was £921 a month, £5 less than in February 2016. But rents are still £112 (14%) a month more than their previous peak in 2007.
The fall in the average national rent was driven by London and the South East where the cost of a new let fell 4.7% and 2.6% respectively. It has taken seven months for falls in these regions to bring the national rental growth figure below 0%. Apart from London and the South East, every other region of the country saw rents continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than last month.
Outside London rents rose 0.8% year-on-year, but the rate of growth slowed in nine of the eleven regions in Great Britain. The East and West Midlands were the only regions recording faster rental growth in February than in January.
The slowdown in average rental growth is driven by a fall in the number of tenants looking for a home combined with higher numbers of homes available to rent in London and the South East, according to the Index.