Rent increases for tenants across Britain continue to far outstrip inflation as demand exceeds the supply of rental stock on the market, new figures reveal.
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that private rents rose by 2.4% across the UK in the 12 months to July 2016, unchanged compared with the year to June 2016.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 0.6% in the year to July 2016, compared with a 0.5% rise in the year to June, but remains significantly below growth in rental values in the private rented sector.
The ONS figures show major regional variations across the UK, with rents increasing by 2.6% in England, 0.2% in Scotland and remaining unchanged in Wales in the 12 months to July 2016.
Rent increases were highest in South East England, where they were up 3.5%. Increases were seen in all regions of England.
The annual jump in private rental prices reported by the ONS is a stark reminder of the “struggles” that many people living in private rented homes are facing in saving a deposit to buy their first home – which remains the biggest barrier to ownership, according to Richard Connolly, CEO at Rentplus.
He said: “The issue of increasing rents is not confined to London with the largest rental price increases in the South East, followed by the East of England, which highlights the fact that housing affordability is firmly a national issue.
“The struggles are numerous with aspirant home owners in the current climate also facing rising fuel bills, low salary growth and low interest rates from savings accounts.”
Connolly is now calling for a major rethink in this country on the housing models that are used to migrate people into home ownership.
He continued: “New innovations such as rent-to-buy models, which allow people to benefit from affordable intermediate rents and make real savings toward a home of their own, ought to be part of an inclusive UK property market which provides secure affordable housing options for all.”