What's happening with national and regional rents? Let's check the data from LSL and Belvoir

publication date: Nov 6, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Are rents on the rise this month?

According to both the LSL letting agent indices and Belvoir Rental Index, which both measure existing and new rents, have risen slightly over the last three months. The Homelet index, which is an insurance index, is showing much larger increases from June onwards which are above inflation. This is due to the fact that the index only covers new tenancies and they are seeing a move to higher value rental properties, meaning not ‘all’ rents are rising.

The main indices we track monthly are Homelet, LSL and Belvoir. Belvoir and Homelet are national (ie include Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland), while LSL’s Buy to Let index covers England and Wales.

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Average National Rents

Average rents

LSL (Your Move and Reeds Rains) suggest that rents have ‘edged to a new all-time record’ but this is only as far as their index goes back to – which is 2010. It doesn’t cover the highs seen in rents in 2008, which according to the Belvoir Index shows rents are still only on a par with those seen six years ago.

Both LSL and Belvoir also show that residential rents across England and Wales are just £10 higher than September 2013, and a slight increase based on August 14. Both of these indices do seem to be tracking similar trends together, showing some consistency in rental indices reporting.

David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments: “As the wider cost of living grows ever more slowly, so too has the cost of renting a home. That said, autumn is always a busy period for the lettings industry, and this has been no exception. Looking ahead, it is likely that rents in most parts of the UK will have now reached their seasonal peak – so as the market cools along with the autumn weather there may be opportunities for some tenants to pick up a favourable deal.”

For new tenancies, Homelet suggest the average rent is 8.2% higher than in September 2013, but mostly driven by London, elsewhere, rents are up 4.6%.

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UK Regional Rental Trends

Much the same as national property prices versus regional ones, rental trends vary for each area, even to postcode level, but not as much as property prices. For example, you might have 10 different prices for a two bed flats vs four for rent. In the regional indices chart, we include average monthly rents from LSL, Homelet and Belvoir for Sept 14 vs Sept 13, compared to the Move with Us and Countrywide average monthly rent for Q3 14 vs Q3 14.

It’s unlikely that any indices can be directly compared, but what we can do is check whether they are all giving the same trending information – ie going up or down, so we can get a feel for what’s actually happening in the market from a variety of sources.

The breakdown for Scotland and Wales regions show:-

  • For Wales, the Homelet, Belvoir and LSL indices all suggest a slight year on year fall of -1.8% and -1% respectively, with Countrywide showing an insignificant rise of 0.8% and Move with Us and larger rise of 5.3%, year on year. Overall, it looks like rents in Wales are pretty static to falling.
  • In Scotland, the indices are mostly showing higher than average rises year on year. Countrywide and Move with Us indices shows rental increases of 5.7% and 10.2% respectively. According to the Scottish Buy to Let Index from LSL,“average residential rents across Scotland are still 2.0% (£11) higher than a year ago, but this represents a slowdown of growth on an annual basis. Annual rent rises have eased off from 2.7% last month, and fallen back from a 3.1% annual change in the year to September 2013.” For new tenancies, Homelet indicates an insignificant rental drop of -0.2%, suggesting rent rises may have peaked.


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All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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