Private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 2.1% in the 12 months to March, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
This means a property that was rented for £500 a month in March 2014, which saw its rent increase by the Great Britain average rate, would be rented for £510.50 in March 2015.
Broken down by country, rental prices grew by 2.1% in England, 2.1% in Scotland and 0.8% in Wales in the 12 months to March 2015.
Rental prices increased in all the English regions over the year, with rental prices increasing the most in London (3.2%). Britain excluding London grew by 1.5% in the same period.
Matt Hutchinson, director of flat and house share site SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “It’s no surprise rents are soaring. We have a chronic shortage of housing in the areas where jobs are being created, so rents continue to rise as supply fails to meet demand. In some areas of London we're seeing up to 13 people compete for every room advertised during peak months.
“As we head towards May 7, the UK’s 11million renters will be looking for policies aimed at making housing, of all tenures, genuinely affordable. The upward pressure on rents is rapidly making the situation both unmanageable and unsustainable for tenants.”
Steve Bolton, founder and chairman of Platinum Property Partners, said: “The blame for rising rental prices is often attributed to landlords, but the fact is there are simply not enough suitable rental properties coming on to the market. Rental demand is growing as first-time buyers struggle to access the housing market and the UK’s workforce becomes increasingly mobile. At the same time, the number of new rental properties is lagging behind – creating a dangerous imbalance between supply and demand that is pushing rental prices upwards.
“Buy-to-let investors need to consider how they can meet growing rental demand in a way that is affordable for consumers. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are a great way of creating high quality rental accommodation by making the most of existing housing stock. They are also far more affordable than renting a one-bedroom flat, providing young professionals with high quality accommodation that also enables them to save for their long-term financial goals.”