Migrants fuel rental surge, say surveyors

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The Independent Online

Rents posted their largest rise for more than a quarter of a century over the summer as the influx of migrant workers fuelled demand for housing, a report said today.

Tenant demand and rent levels accelerated over the three months to July, driven by a strong economy, affordability problems for home buyers and immigration from EU accession countries, the study said.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the number of its members reporting a rise in rents outnumbered those seeing a fall by 30 per cent, up from 20 per cent in April and the largest rise since it launched the survey in 1978.

Rics said surveyors in particular regions had reported a significant impact from workers from eastern European countries looking for work. The equivalent figure for London and the South-east - the main destinations for migrant workers - were 54 and 37 per cent respectively.

But the impact appeared to be wider. David Tyrrell, a surveyor in Redditch, West Midlands, told Rics: "There is still good demand from would-be, first-time buyers and also from migrants from new EU countries."

About 600,000 migrants are estimated to have come to the UK from the 10 countries that joined the EU, of whom most have joined the workforce.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said: "Migratory flows now have a greater impact on UK demography than in the past which, in turn, has implications for future housing demand and provision."

Figures yesterday showed the strongest rise in mortgage borrowing for three years in July, and Rics said the upbeat trend looked set to continue.