Rents paid by private tenants have risen at their largest annual rate for more than five years after spiking in the past 12 months.
New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows private rental prices in the UK increased by 2.3% in the year to February, the largest annual growth rate since December 2016.
The area with the largest rental growth was the East Midlands, with prices rising 3.8% in the period, while London was the laggard with prices up just 0.2%.
the capital, which the ONS said is witnessing a decrease in demand as the rise in remote working allows employees to live outside the city, rental prices in the UK rose by 3.2% in the 12-month period, compared to 3% for the year to January.
Looking at each nation, private rental prices grew the most in Scotland (2.6%), followed by England (2.1%) and Wales (1.4%).
Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson says the new figures reiterated his growing concerns over the affordability of rented housing for people across the country.
“Those on lower incomes are facing the brunt of rising rents and our agents report consistent disparities between local housing allowance rates and market rent prices,” he says.
“The recent talk of rent controls is not the answer and in many instances such controls have failed and have hit hardest those that they are designed to assist.
“In order to resolve this, the simple math of imbalanced supply and demand has to be addressed by introducing further investment in both the private rented and social sectors.”
The latest figures mean a continuation of the rise in rental prices since the latter part of last year after a period of flat or mild growth since mid-2019.
Since January 2015, rental prices have increased by 12.6% to February this year.
In February, the Association of Residential Letting Agents revealed a sharp increase in the number of agents reporting an increase in rental prices, with 74% of members stating this had impacted their stock, compared with 56% in December.