Rental growth flat-lines in May as election uncertainty holds up decisions to move

UK rental growth flat-lined in May, rising by just 0.02%, the slowest pace in over half a decade

  • In London, rents have now been falling for a year, by -0.12% in May and -0.94% since June 2016
  • London was the only region where rents fell in May, but seven out of 12 regions ended the month with slower growth than in April as election jitters and ongoing Brexit uncertainty restrict rental demand

UK rents grew by just 0.02% in May, the slowest pace for over half a decade, and a fraction of the five year average growth rate of 0.14%, according to the latest Landbay Rental Index. The slowdown signals a dip in demand for new tenancies, as renters come to terms with a snap General Election, and ongoing uncertainty around Brexit negotiations.

London continues to be the main driver of the slowdown, with rents in the capital sinking by -0.94% in the year to May, compared to growth of 1.62% across the rest of the UK. Rents have now fallen for 12 consecutive months in London, a full year of softening prices caused both by dampened demand, but also heightened supply, as many homeowners choose to rent out their properties until the weak sales market has rebounded.

London was the only UK region to see rents fall in May, but seven out of 12 regions ended the month with a slower rate of growth than seen in April.

To Let Sign

John Goodall, CEO and founder of Landbay said:

"The election is one of many external factors influencing activity in the buy to let market at the moment. Yes, uncertainty about the future of the UK will cause some people to delay a decision to move, but affordability pressures are also starting to pinch the pockets of renters across the country. Wage growth is now lagging behind inflation for the first time since mid-2014, and with less money to spend on such a major monthly outlay, renters will be factoring this into their tenancy decisions.

"On the supply side, a wave of new rental properties caused by last spring's hike to Stamp Duty, together with falling house prices, will no doubt both be playing a small part in the ongoing softening of rental growth. Nevertheless, barring a major surprise from either the election or the Brexit negotiations, long term population and construction trends suggest that rents will soon be growing faster than inflation again."

Annual Rent Growth – London vs rest of UK

Rents Flat Line 1

UK Rental Index

Rents Flat Line 2

UK Rental Index by number of beds

Rents Flat Line 3

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