The Coronavirus pandemic is changing things for everyone, not least the housing market. Until the crisis hit the UK, the rental market had seen continued stability in the first quarter of 2020, with average monthly rent across the UK increasing marginally by £2 to £775. Year on year, the picture is a little different, as we saw an £18 increase from £757 this time last year.

Almost all properties saw an increase in average rental prices, with detached properties seeing the largest comparative rise by £9 from £998 last quarter to £1,007 this quarter. Terraced properties on the other experienced a marginal decrease of £3 to £725.

A regional rental rundown

Bucking the national trend, renters north of the border in Scotland experienced both quarterly and year-on-year growth. Average monthly rent went from £612 in Q4 2019 to £642 in Q1 2020. Year-on-year, the increase is even greater, rising by £49 from £593.

As expected, London is still the most expensive region in which to rent property at £1,345 per month. Nonetheless, with average rent in the capital not budging from Q4 2019, renters can breathe a slight sigh of relief, even if they do still fork out 42% of their wages on rent.

On the other end of the spectrum, the North East is the cheapest place to rent property standing at £517 per month. Those in the North East typically spend 23% of their monthly income on rent, far less than the national average.

How does your region compare?

Region Q1 2020 Q4 2019
UK £775 £773
London £1,345
South East £895 £877
South West £753
East £812 £823
East Midlands £586
West Midlands £620 £611
Yorkshire £542
North West £594 £596
North East £517
Scotland £642 £642
Wales £583
Northern Ireland £521 £548


The effect of Covid-19 on the private rented sector

As you will know, the Coronavirus crisis is having a huge impact on everyday life, both socially and economically, and the private rented sector is no different. We’re already hearing stories of significant disruption to the housing market and expect to see more in the coming months. However, at this stage it’s difficult to predict the effect this will ultimately have on the industry. Make sure you keep a close eye on future editions of The DPS Rent Index and our website for key updates and information.

We’ve seen increased levels of support, compassion and sense of community during these difficult and unprecedented times, and communication has never been more vital. It’s important that everyone talks to each other. Whether you are a tenant with sudden financial difficulties, or a landlord faced with changes to your income, we encourage you to communicate with one another as often as possible.

If you’re unsure, seek help and advice

Additional information on support for renters and landlords can be found on the government’s website. Landlords, if you have a buy-to-let mortgage and are concerned about your payments, please get in touch with your lender. Different lenders will have their own approach to dealing with this uncertain situation. Our sister company, Zephyr Homeloans, will always talk to their customers and can offer, where appropriate, payment holidays of up to three months for landlords who have been financially impacted by Coronavirus through their tenant not making rent payments.