Rents at highest ever levels in England and Wales

Average is now £757 per month

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The Independent Online

Average rents across England and Wales hit the £757 per month mark in August, thanks to a monthly increase of 1.8 per cent, making the average rents 2.1 per cent higher than September 2012, according to figures from LSL Property Services.

This means rents are now £13 per month higher than the previous record of October 2012. The number of new tenancies across England and Wales also rose, by 6.5 per cent over the previous month.

Nine out of ten regions saw rents rise between August and September, with the fastest rise in the South East (3.3 per cent). There was a 2.7 per cent rise in the North West and in the West Midlands a jump of 2.6 per cent. The only region to see lower rents in September was the East of England with a 0.8 per cent monthly drop.

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said: "Higher rents in almost every region show that, despite government schemes, buying a first home is still a difficult aspiration. This is not only down to low salary growth, but also a general shortage of supply – which is the underlying reason why homes are getting more expensive. The long term-trend to renting therefore looks unlikely to change significantly in the near future, despite the better availability of finance compared to previous years.”

The figures follow LSL's report last week that suggested house prices also hit a record high in September, with prices £8,526 higher than a year ago and house sales 12 per cent higher than last year.

A YouGov poll for housing charity Shelter revealed that six in 10 working families are already struggling or falling behind with their rent or mortgage. Previous research released by Shelter suggests that just over a third of workers could not pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job.