A fall in annual rents and wage inflation helped ensure that renting became more affordable in 2018, according to The Deposit Protection Service (DPS).
2018 was the first calendar year since the global financial crisis of 2008 that average rents dropped in the UK, with the percentage of wages spent on rents falling 0.5% to 31%, The DPS Rent IndexTM shows.
Meanwhile, ONS data for the period between January and December 2018 shows that wages increased on average by 2.83%.
Julian Foster, chief operating officer at Computershare Investor Services, which produces the annual report, commented: “This first drop in average annual rents for almost 10 years is good news for UK renters, especially if wages continue to climb in 2019.”
Average rent in the UK fell by £9, or 1.17%, from £774 per calendar month (pcm) in 2017, to £765pcm in 2018.
The steepest decline in was recorded in Yorkshire and the Humber, where average rents fell by £21, or 3.63%, to hit an average of £546pcm, making it the third most affordable area in the UK after the North East (£529pcm) and Northern Ireland (£544pcm).
Rents in the North East dropped by 1.47%, or around £8 compared with 2017, with average rents being around 32% lower than the national average.
The second most affordable region was Northern Ireland, however annual rents rose from historically low levels by 2.38% last year, from £532pcm in 2017 to £544pcm.
Scotland and Wales saw modest growth in rents compared with 2017, with Scottish rents rising by £1, or 0.19%, while in Wales rents increased on average by £8, or 1.42%.
In England, only the South West (0.21%) and West Midlands (0.12%) experienced annual growth, with the increase equivalent to around an additional pound.
As in 2017, London, the South East, and the East were the only regions last year where annual average rents were above the UK national average.
London continues to have the most expensive average annual rent in the UK, at £1,294pcm, 69% higher than the national average, and representing 41% of average London wages.
Decreases were experienced in average UK rents for all property types, with terraced properties showing the largest decline at 2.49%, producing average rents of £711pcm in 2018.