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Average rent reaches record levels: will coronavirus affect rent prices?

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

30 June 2020

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The average rent in England has reached record levels, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

The ONS reported its highest ever average rent of £700 a month between 1 April last year and 31 March this year.

There are some wide regional variations, with London having the highest median rent at £1,425.

This is £525 higher than the next largest median monthly rent of £900 in the South East.

Regional variations in average rent

The North East has the lowest for the same period. It’s almost £1,000 less than the capital, at £495 a month.

Rent prices in inner London tended to be higher than for outer London, with the median monthly rent being £1,700 and £1,295 respectively.

The ONS said most regions had a spread of rents, but London had the greatest range of prices of all regions.

This reflects the large range of property types and sizes in London and the range in associated rental price, it said.

How will coronavirus affect rents?

There are concerns that rents may fall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as tenants face possible unemployment.

Matthew Hooker, of rental deposit replacement firm Ome, said: “Rental affordability remains a burning issue and one that will continue to plague the market having been greatly exacerbated by the arrival of COVID-19.

“We’ve seen tenants across the UK squeezed in recent years where the cost of living is concerned as wage growth has failed to keep pace with ever-increasing rental costs.

“However, this will have become a much bigger issue for those that now find themselves on restricted income or recently unemployed, with the cost of renting now hitting an all-time high.

“While tough, the best advice for tenants currently is to reduce their outgoings where possible, continue to maintain rental payments where they can and keep communication frequent and open with their landlord.”

Most tenants have been able to pay rent as normal

It comes as the government has extended the ban on evictions for a further two months, with the measure having already been in place for three months.

However, in spite of the extension to the current evictions ban, the National Residential Landlords Association insisted that there is ‘no eviction crisis’ looming for tenants - and that tenants and landlords are working together to avoid repossessions.

Indeed, most tenants have been able to pay their rent as usual during the coronavirus pandemic, it confirmed.

Its survey of more than 2,000 tenants across England and Wales, 90 per cent said that they had paid their rent as usual since the coronavirus crisis began.

What do you think about the rise in average rents? Let us know in the comments below.

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