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Landlords up against a ‘considerable cocktail of hurdles’ in Scotland

Rents in Scotland are rising at their slowest rate for three years, according to new figures.

Data from the latest Scotland Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move, one of Scotland’s largest letting agent networks, show that the average private rent in Scotland rose by just 0.6% year-on-year – the lowest annual increase seen since the start of 2013.

The average rent in Scotland for new tenancies now stands at an average of £542pcm, following a 0.4% monthly fall in April.

On a monthly basis, typical Scottish rents have fallen for the second consecutive month, down 0.4% since March. This is at odds with the trend seen south of the border, with average rents across England and Wales rising by 0.3% month-on-month in April.

Brian Moran, lettings director at Your Move Scotland, commented: “Tenants looking to rent a property now may find themselves able to bag a bargain, after a slight spring slump in rent growth.”

Regional breakdown

On a monthly basis, rents were cheaper in all but one region of Scotland in April.

The Highlands & Islands witnessed the fastest drop in average rents in April, falling 1.7% on March. This amounts to over £9 in cash terms, reducing typical rents in the region to £537 per month – the lowest level seen since December 2014.  

Rents in Glasgow & Clyde fell on a monthly basis for the fourth consecutive month, down by 1% in April to stand at £538.

In the East of Scotland rents were 0.6% lower in April than in March, while the South experienced the smallest month-on-month reduction, down by just 0.1%.

Despite the wider slowdown, rental values in Edinburgh & the Lothians bucked the downward trend, with a 0.8% month-on-month increase contributing to a record 10.5% jump in rents recorded since last year.

Moran added: “This year-on-year snapshot hides the many price fluctuations we’ve seen in between this April and last, and also isn’t uniform across the country. The lettings market is always at the mercy of local supply and demand, and in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas we’re seeing extraordinarily fast rent rises, as tenant competition shines brightest around the glow of the jobs market.

“Supply and demand needs to strike a lasting equilibrium to prevent rent growth taking off and leaving tenants by the wayside – and that’s a tall order in today’s regulatory environment. Landlords are up against a considerable cocktail of hurdles, including a higher rate of stamp duty on property purchases, reductions in tax relief, and the Private Tenancies Bill. While levied at landlords, these measures could soon hurt thousands of tenants too, if buy-to-let investment retreats as a result and there are less houses and flats to rent.”

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