Rents in Britain have fallen for the first time in more than six years, driven by large falls in London and the South East.
In February 2017, the average rent in Great Britain was £921 a month, £5 less than a year earlier, according to new data from Countrywide Lettings. It was the first fall since November 2010.
But when the 4.7% fall in London and 2.6% decline in the South East are excluded, average rents rose 0.8% year-on-year.
Johnny Morris, Research Director at Countrywide, says, “Rents are growing in most of the country but falls in London and the South East are dragging down the national growth rate. Recent falls in London and the South East are small in the context growth in recent years. Rents are a third higher in London and the South East than in 2007.
“Early signs point towards 2017 being a rare year where rents rise faster in the north of the country than in the south. While rents are likely to track any increase in earnings, affordability in London and the South East remains stretched. That is likely to limit rental growth.”
The number of homes available to rent increased by 9% but the growth in stock is slowing. Even so, rents are still £112 (14%) a month more than their previous peak in 2007.
Apart from London and the South East, every other region of the country saw rents continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than last month. The East and West Midlands were the only regions recording faster rental growth in February than in January.
In other news that will add to the housing stock in London, Transport for London (TfL) has announced its preferred bidder for a joint venture to deliver 400 new homes by 2020 – half of which will be affordable – at a TfL-owned site in Kidbrooke.
TfL and preferred bidder Triangle London Developments plan to establish a joint venture partnership to develop the vacant site with hundreds of new homes, commercial, retail and office space, as well as an improved transport hub, and village square.
The four-acre site, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, benefits from its proximity to the Zone 3 Kidbrooke national rail station and the Henley Cross bus station.
Subject to final approval by the TfL Finance Committee and contract completion, the new joint venture will consult with Londoners to develop concept designs in order to seek planning permissions and start on site in 2018, aiming to have the first homes available to buy and rent by 2020.
James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, said:
“The Mayor is determined to fast-track more public land for development and to ensure at least half the new homes across TfL’s portfolio of sites will be genuinely affordable. Kidbrooke is a site that has sat unused for the last eight years, so I welcome this joint venture and I look forward to seeing work gather pace to deliver new affordable homes for Londoners to buy and rent.”