Rents rose strongly last month as demand outstripped supply, according to Countrywide.

The average rent for newly let properties in the UK was £883 pcm, up from £859 in January 2014 – an increase of 2.8%.

One and two-bedroom properties saw the biggest increase in rent, up 8.5% and 3.6% to £751 and £810 respectively. Three-bedroom properties rose 1.6% to £930, but four-bedroom plus properties saw a 3% decrease to £1,345.

The largest regional increase in rent year-on-year was in Greater London, up 10.6% to £1,265, followed by Wales, up 6.1% to £666, and the south-west, up 4.1% to £765.

The only region to see a decrease in rent year-on-year was the south-east, down 4.1% to £1,035. Countrywide put this down to a fall in demand for rental accommodation as more tenants moved out of the private rented sector and bought their own homes.

Countrywide’s monthly index is based on an analysis of 60,000 rental properties.

Graph 1 below: Average rent by region for newly let properties

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For renewed tenancies, the average UK rent is now £835 pcm. One-bedroom properties saw the greatest increase in rent year-on-year, up 3.3% to £681, followed by two-bedroom properties, up 1.9% to £763, and three-bedroom properties up 1.7% to £875. Rents for four-bedroom plus homes stayed broadly the same with just a 0.2% decrease in average monthly rent to £1,350.

Most regions experienced an increase in rent for renewed tenancies in January. The biggest increase was in Scotland, up 5% year-on-year to £634, followed by Greater London with a 4.7% increase to £1,110 and the midlands with a 3% increase to £622.

Some regions saw a fall in rent year-on-year, with the north of England down 1.2% to £599, followed by Wales down 0.7% to £592, and the south-east down 0.5% to £1,010.

Graph 2 below: Average rent by region for renewed tenancies

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The average UK rent for all occupied rental properties is £836 pcm. Year-on-year average rents have increased for all property sizes, with smaller properties leading the way.

Rents for one-bedroom properties went up year-on-year 2.7% to £688, followed by three-bedroom properties up 2.2% to £875, two-bedroom properties up 1.9% to £768, and four-bedroom plus properties up 1.3% to £1,328.

All regions had an increase in average rent year-on-year, with Greater London seeing the largest increase, up 4.4% year-on-year to £1,137, followed by central London up 3.8% to £2,448, Wales up 2.4% to £641 and the south-east up 2.1% to £984.

Graph 3 below: UK average rent for occupied rental properties

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Meanwhile, arrears have decreased year-on-year in all regions apart from the north of England where they have stayed the same, and central London where there has been a marginal increase of 0.6%.

PROPERTY INDUSTRY EYE - 12/02/2015