Average rents for private properties increased faster in Westminster than anywhere else in England in 2014, rising 28.4%, according to new analysis by Direct Line for Business.
The average rental increase in Westminster outstripped such affluent areas as Sevenoaks (where charges increased 10.5%), Richmond upon Thames (up 8.7%) and Guildford (down 5.6%).
Across England last year, average private rents increased in 87% of counties. Direct Line suggested that rises in some areas could be due to the demand for rental properties for new tenants, a churn of new tenants in student areas, or newly rented properties (e.g. new builds), both of which command higher than average rents. Private rental charges saw a decrease in 13% of areas.
Double-digit private rent increases were recorded in 11% of areas in 2014. However, there were dramatic falls in average private rents across a number of regions. In the Three Rivers area, rents fell by 19% during 2014, while in Chiltern they fell 11.3%.
“The research highlights that rental incomes are anything but static or predictable across England,’ said Jane Guaschi, business manager at Direct Line for Business.
“Too often people forget the risks landlords take when renting out a property. The income they can generate is not guaranteed to stay the same each year, let alone rise. Where landlords are able to secure rent increases, they will often reinvest this money in the property making improvements. In the future, they may need to use the income generated by any rent increases to offset the impact of government changes that will see higher-rate relief on mortgages dramatically reduced.
“Keeping track of income and expenditure can be a challenge for landlords, which is why Direct Line for Business has developed the Mobile Landlord App. The App can help landlords keep an accurate record of the money generated by their properties and also the expenses incurred in running costs, repairs and mortgage payments via an inbuilt yield calculator.”
Analysis reveals private properties in one of London’s most desirable boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea, cost 679% more to rent annually than properties in Kingston upon Hull. Average annual private rentals in Kensington and Chelsea cost £37,560 in 2014 compared to just £4,824 in Kingston upon Hull.
Unsurprisingly, London boroughs top the league table for most expensive private rents in England, with the majority of cheaper private rental properties located in the North of England where average house prices are also significantly lower. Of the top 20 most expensive areas to rent private housing stock, only two are located outside London: Elmbridge in Surrey and Sevenoaks in Kent.