A GWENT valleys town has been identified as seeing the largest increase of rental asking prices of any local area in the UK.

Research by property company Rightmove has found the average rental asking price in the UK has increased at the fastest rate on record with Wales seeing the largest increase.

In Pontypool, which saw the largest annual increase in asking price of any local area, rents have jumped more than £100 in 12 months.

Its quarterly rental trends tracker has found the average asking price per calendar month is £1,068 outside London and £2,142 inside the UK capital.

This is a 9.9 per cent rise for the rest of the UK, and a 6.1 per cent jump for London.

The real estate giant also predicted that asking prices will rise by a further five per cent this year, as competition between tenants for available properties increased by nearly double the previous year.

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The number of available properties is also 51 per cent lower than the same period last year, which has led to properties being filled within only 17 days on average.

The firm has also said the average rental yield, the value of rent landlords can expect to receive from their property in a year, is at its highest point since 2016 in Great Britain at 5.5 per cent, with England's north east seeing record yields alongside Wales.

Rising rents are also outpacing house price increases other than in some areas of England.

Wales’ annual asking price for rent increased by 12.7 per cent, followed by England's north west which jumped by 12.5 per cent and the south west, rising by 11 per cent.

The figures will add further weight for calls to address the affordability of housing in Wales.

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Demand for properties for sale, either as primary residence or for use as private holiday or commercial holiday homes, has been highlighted as pushing properties beyond the price range of those in popular tourism locations.

These figures demonstrate the value of rental properties to landlords amid concerns over the supply and quality of housing available for rent.

The cooperation agreement between the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru has promised actions including a cap on the number of second and holiday homes, in some areas, and a statutory licensing scheme for holiday lets among other measures.

The Welsh Government also has a target of building 20,000 more homes available for social rent, but this will not meet the demand with 67,000 people on housing waiting lists across the country.

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London hit record annual growth of 10.9%, with asking prices there now three per cent higher than before the pandemic started.

Rightmove's figures showed in Pontypool asking prices jumped by 20 per cent from £562 per month to £674.

Director of property data for Rightmove, Tim Bannister, said: “Tenant demand continues to be really high entering the new year, meaning the imbalance between supply and demand is set to continue until more choice comes on to the market for tenants, which has led to our prediction of a further five per cent increase in average asking rents in 2022.

“Landlords understand the importance of having a good, long-term tenant, and there is a limit to what renters can afford to pay, which will prevent rents rising at the same rate we’ve seen over the past year.”

This rise has reversed a downward trend experienced during lockdowns, when there was an increase in tenants wanting houses with gardens outside cities.

At the end of 2020, London recorded a near-record 6.4% drop in average asking rents, as landlords lowered prices to incentivise renters to stay in their properties.

Additional reporting: Twm Owen

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