Zoopla says it’s a two-tier market with London trailing badly trailing the rest of the country.
UK rents outside London are up 1.7 per cent annually to £744 pcm, whereas in London they are down 5.2 annually to £1,596.
An average single UK tenant now spends 31 per cent of their salary on rent, and the average time to let a property is 17 days.
The portal says the general growth in rents is due to demand outstripping supply across cities outside London, with demand from tenants up 20 per cent year-on-year UK-wide, and supply into the rental market flat year-on-year by way of contrast.
There are three key reasons for this demand- supply imbalance, Zoopla insists.
Firstly the current squeeze on mortgage lending means more people are staying in the rental sector when they may otherwise have bought.
Secondly the lockdowns and other restrictions mean people are reassessing their lifestyle priorities, encouraging more moves.
And thirdly the return of students to university as usual in the autumn will also have boosted demand in the rental sector.
“The split in the rental market caused by Covid-19 has now crystallised and we are seeing the two-speed market firmly entrenched” explains Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla.
“For most of the UK, the demand/supply gap is underpinning moderate levels of rental growth. We haven’t seen the exodus of students from cities and, as more people are staying in the rental market given the squeeze on mortgage lending, higher levels of demand will continue to underpin rents. At the same time however, muted earnings growth will start to limit the headroom for rental growth in some markets.
“The search for additional space, both indoor and outdoor, within the rental sector is also set to continue as the country goes through additional periods of lockdown.”