The average rent across England and Wales has increased by 1.8% in the last 12 months, hitting an average of £865 per calendar month (pcm) in December, according to the latest data from Your Move.
Rents in the South West outstripped all other regions in 2018, increasing by 4.1% to hit an average of £702pcm.
The West Midlands saw the strongest gains month-on-month, up 0.5%, taking the average rent up to £630pcm.
The rental market in London unsurprisingly remains the most expensive place to rent, with rents remaining stable across December. However, prices here dropped year-on-year, with a price fall of 0.8% leaving the average rent at £1,263pcm.
The South East of England, where rents rose 1.2% year-on-year, to reach £897pcm, is the second most expensive region, followed by the East of England where the average rent is now £881pcm.
Some landlords saw their returns squeezed during 2018, and yet Your Move found that each of the ten regions in the survey recorded the same average yields in December as they did in the previous month.
Across England and Wales the average also remained the same, at 4.3%.
The North West, West Midlands, Wales and the East of England all ended the year with smaller yields than they did a year previously. But the East Midlands bucked this trend with the average returns rising from 4% to 4.2% year-on-year.
The two most northerly regions continued to offer the best percentage returns for landlords. In the North East the average yield was 5% while in the North West it was 4.8%.
Martyn Alderton, national lettings director at Your Move, commented: “While the rental market tends to wind down as we reach the end of the year, there were still some positive advancements this year, with prices rising in all but two regions.
“While landlords in most areas saw their yields squeezed in 2018, there was good news as returns held firm between November and December.
“Tenant arrears have spiked compared to November, but this often occurs at this time of year.”