Property News

Rents Record High in February

Rents Record High in February

A recent report reveals 10% year-on-year increase. At an average of £1,230 per month for a newly let home, rents across the UK hit another record high in February, residential estate agent Hamptons has reported.

Its latest monthly lettings index revealed a 10% year-on-year increase, marking the second strongest annual growth since the company began recording this data. London, where average monthly rent rose by 13.8% to £2,161, regained its place at the top of the rental growth charts. Hamptons noted an evenly matched rental growth across both Inner and Outer London, a reversal of last year when Inner London rents were recovering from their post-pandemic lows.

In a reversal of last year, smaller homes are seeing the strongest rent rises. The average one-bed rent increased 13% year-on-year in February, nearly triple the 4.5% rate recorded in February 2022. Rental growth for a three-bed home has decelerated from 10.6% in February 2022 to 8.7% in February 2023.

“Rental growth accelerated last month, marking the second strongest rate of growth recorded since our lettings index began,” Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, stated in an article discussing the monthly lettings report. “The annual increase will cost the average tenant who moves into a new home in Great Britain an additional £1,344 each year. While the number of rental homes coming onto the market rose for the fifth consecutive month, unlike in the sales market, demand from new renters remains up year-on-year too.”


One in six BTL purchases is mortgage free
The Hamptons report also showed that high mortgage rates have led to the majority of new buy-to-let purchases being funded by cash rather than a mortgage. So far this year, 59% of buy-to-let purchases were mortgage free, the highest share in six years and up from 53% in 2022.

The biggest shift has come in the southern areas of the country, where yields tend to be lower. A record 61% of investor purchases in the four southern regions of London, South East, South West, and East of England were made in cash, up from a low of 47% in 2022. In contrast in the north of England, cash purchases have fallen year-on-year, from 62% in 2022 to 60% in 2023.

Hamptons said that cash had become more popular in the lowest-yielding areas of the country, to avoid failing lender’s stress tests and to maintain landlord’s margins. It also estimated that the shift towards cash ownership would save new landlords across the UK around £61.9 million in mortgage interest payments this year, based on the average mortgaged investor paying £187,110 for their buy-to-let and putting down a 25% deposit.

“Against a backdrop of higher mortgage rates, investors are adapting,” Beveridge said. “So far this year, 12.1% of homes sold in Great Britain were purchased by a buy-to-let landlord, the same level as in 2022. While existing investors are paying down debt, new investors, particularly those wanting to buy in the lowest yielding parts of the country, are choosing cash to ensure the sums stack up. Overall, this is set to shrink the total mortgage bill for buy-to-let in 2023.

“The recent rise in cash purchases brings a close to landlords’ ability to access competitive mortgage deals. Sub-2% mortgage rates – available over the last few years – meant landlords who were able to buy homes outright chose instead to make the most of record low rates.

“Many investors spread their cash as far as it could go by topping it up with low borrowing costs to maximise their returns. However, today, investors are having to dig deeper into their savings to ensure the sums stack up on any new buy-to-lets.”


Widest gap in UK between renting and buying home revealed – what’s cheapest in your area?

Renters pay more than first time buyers in almost every corner of the United Kingdom – though new data shows the gap has narrowed greatly in the era of rising interest rates. The cost of a mortgage on a first home is typically around £42 per month cheaper than renting, but the difference has reduced and in some parts of the UK renting may be the less expensive option, analysis suggests.

Differences varied across the country, with Scottish renters getting the worst deal, while homeowners in the East of England have reason to be jealous of their northern counterparts. On the whole, first-time buyers could typically pay around £971 per month for a three-bedroom home, while renters would potentially be forking out around £1,013, according to calculations by Halifax.

The difference works out at around £500 per year, down from a peak reached in 2016, when owners saved £1,567 annually. Just 2 years ago in 2021, buying a home was found to be around £1,300 per year cheaper than renting, according to Halifax. Towards the end 2021, the Bank of England set on its ongoing path of rising interest rates after the historic 0.1 per cent low of the pandemic era. The Covid drop followed more than a decade of extremely low rates after the 2008 financial crash.

Halifax based its calculations in mortgage payments, household maintenance, repairs, minor alterations and insurance costs for home-owners. The bank used its own house price data, mortgage figures from UK Finance, as well as data from the Bank of England and the Office for National Statistics.

The UK’s biggest gap between owners and renters, in percentage terms, was in Scotland, Halifax said. Those renting in Scotland faced paying an average £918 per month, compared with £727 for home-owners – a saving of 21% for those on the property ladder. In cash terms, those who had managed to get on the property ladder in London were nearly £3,000 a year better off than renters, according to the research.

The East of England was found to be the only region where it was typically more expensive to buy a first home than rent one. Kim Kinnaird, mortgages director, Halifax, said, “while a predicted fall in house prices this year will be welcome news for those looking to buy their first home, it doesn’t change the fact that getting on the property ladder remains expensive – a problem that is compounded when rents are high, impacting the ability to save.”

List belows average monthly rent, followed by average monthly mortgage payments and the difference in price:

Scotland, £727, £918, 21%
South West, £1,029, £1,237, 17%
North West, £778, £922, 16%
Wales, £735, £872, 16%
London, £1,828, £2,074, 12%
West Midlands, £839, £951, 12%
Yorkshire and the Humber, £720, £802, 10%
South East, £1,345, £1,474, 9%
East Midlands, £843, £931, 9%
North East, £628, £685, 8%
Northern Ireland, £596, £620, 4%
East of England, £1,212, £1,122, minus 8%
UK, £971, £1,013, 4%