Rents are now £62 per month higher on average than when the UK coronavirus lockdowns first started, analysis has found.

Wales saw the third highest rent price rise at 9.8 percent, coming behind only London and Northern Ireland, which each saw increases of more than ten percent.

Across the UK, the average monthly rent was £969 by the fourth quarter of 2021, Zoopla said.

Households who agree new lets are now having to pay an additional average annual cost of £744, or £62 per month, compared with typical costs in March 2020, the property website added.

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Higher average rents will add to the pressure on households already facing a perfect storm of rising bills and squeezes on their income, with annual energy bills expected to jump by around £700 from April.

People trying to make the jump out of the rental sector and on to the property ladder also face a £24,500 rise in the average house price over the past year, according to figures released earlier this week by Halifax.

The average UK house price hit a record high of £276,759 at the start of 2022, the banking company said.

Wales remains the region that has experienced the sharpest rise in house prices.

The news comes after YouGov polling found significant public support for caps on private rent prices, as well as a ban on buy-to-let mortgages for newly built properties and increased council tax for second homes.

A Senedd debate on rent controls will take place this afternoon.

Zoopla said the average rent accounts for 37 percent of an single earner's gross income.

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This is up from a “pandemic dip” of 34 percent during most of 2021 but broadly in line with the 10-year average of 36 percent, the website added.

Demand for rental homes is increasing, but the supply of rental properties in January 2022 was well below levels normally seen at the start of the year, it said.

Grainne Gilmore, head of research, Zoopla, said: “Rents have risen sharply in recent months, amid a backdrop of rising living costs.

“But it is important to point out that in terms of rental affordability, in most markets rents are still close to the 10-year average.

"As demand continues to outpace supply, there will be further upward pressure on rents, but affordability considerations will act as a brake on large rises."

 

The real estate website, which is paid to advertise properties for rent and sale, claimed that a drop in demand after a January "peak" may lead to "more modest" rent rises.

“The flooding of rental demand back into city centres thanks to office workers, students and international demand returning to cities means the post-pandemic ‘recalibration’ of the rental market is well underway.”

Over 13,000 households were assessed as homeless by the Welsh Government between 2020-2021, while figures suggest that at least 688 people died homeless in England and Wales in 2020.

Meanwhile, there are thought to be at least 67,000 people on the waiting list for social housing in Wales, with the Bevan Foundation reporting that the vast majority of rent prices in the country are too expensive to be covered by housing benefit.

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James Evans, chief executive at property agents Douglas & Gordon, added: “We’re seeing landlords achieve record prices, a high quality of tenant and almost no void periods.

“With competition for properties at the level it is, there are 35 to 40 new applicants for every rental property in London and around four offers received per agreed let, so tenants are having to put themselves in the best position possible to get the properties they want.

“Following a strong sales market in 2021, and more confidence in future price increases in London, we are seeing more buy-to-let investors entering the market.”

Average monthly rents for December 2021 and the annual increase, according to Zoopla:

– Wales, £686, 9.8%

– North East, £561, 6.0%

– North West, £674, 8.0%

– Yorkshire and the Humber, £655, 8.5%

– East Midlands, £709, 8.0%

– West Midlands, £728, 8.6%

– East of England, £963, 6.1%

– London, £1,640, 10.3%

– South East, £1,089, 6.4%

– South West, £897, 9.5%

– Northern Ireland, £646, 10.2%

– Scotland, £639, 4.8%

Additional Reporting: Rebecca Wilks

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