1 February 2016

More than 15,000 properties have been analysed by a Yorkshire residential letting specialist to gain an inside track on the pace of rent rises across the county.

Linley & Simpson carried out its own local research after a recent study claimed that monthly bills for tenants nationally were increasing at 3.4 per cent - the fastest rate for five years.

Its findings painted a different picture in Yorkshire to the national headlines, which suggested that tenants were in danger of being priced out of private rented accommodation.

“We launched this research – the biggest we have ever undertaken – to gain the most accurate insight into the performance of the Yorkshire letting market, and demystify what rental increases it has seen,” said director Will Linley.

“Against a backdrop of spiralling demand for rental properties, Yorkshire as a whole still strikes a fair balance and because of this it holds appeal for landlords and tenants alike.

"Investors continue to benefit from a return that outperforms other savings rates, while tenants are not anchored by excessive increases."

He added: “It’s reassuring to note that amid a national surge in demand for rental properties, Yorkshire landlords have not sought to take advantage of the situation as they may have done. Instead, they have adopted a common sense approach which underlines the value they place on having a quality and reliable tenant in situ.

“It’s also important to remember that landlords do not see income from the monthly rent as the sole litmus test of their investment – many take a longer-term view and identify capital growth as the key factor for putting their money into property.”

The independent agency, which has a network of 11 sales and lettings offices across North and West Yorkshire, studied a sample of 15,000 properties that it has let over the past five years with monthly rentals between £350 and £1,000.

It showed that the average rent has increased from £593.30 per calendar month in 2011 to £654.54 in 2015 – a rise of 10 per cent over 5 years.

The county has witnesses a gradual, sustained growth – with no huge upward or downward spikes – with the rental increments ranging from a low of 1.5 per cent in 2011 to a high of 2.33 in 2014.

Last year actually saw a fall in the pace of increases, dropping to 2.20 per cent.

Mr Linley said that the only place which perhaps was out of kilter with the overall findings was Leeds city centre.

Here, on the back of renewed interest in city centre living, wedded to a lack of new developments to meet demand, rentals had increased at a faster pace than the rest of Yorkshire.

“It’s a less mature market than many other sought-after locations across the county,” he said. “As a result, it may be more volatile to market forces and extra sensitive to the peaks in demand we are now witnessing.

“As more cranes appear on the skyline, and the raft of new developments in the pipeline begin to open their doors to tenants, we should see a levelling out of the rate of rent rises.”

He added that while there was a national spotlight on tenants struggling with rent rises nationally, there was a counter-argument that it is first-time buyers who are the ones facing the biggest challenge.

“With average house prices in the UK increasing by 7 per cent year-on-year – that’s more than double the rental rise quoted in the national study – the goalposts have moved significantly for first-timers.

“With that initial step on the property ladder further away from reach, many are choosing to extend their rental agreements. This gives them the breathing space to save up more money for a deposit to fund their purchase and the additional monthly mortgage premiums they will pay.”

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