After years of annual rent rises, the London lettings market is finally offering some slight relief for tenants, with rents in the capital falling by an average of 4.7 per cent over the past year.
Rental costs have dropped by an average of £63 since February 2016, from £1,309 to £1,246, according to Countrywide's Letting Index, released today.
Record double-digit growth in the number of homes available to rent immediately followed the landlord rush to purchase buy-to-let properties ahead of stamp duty changes last April.
This, combined with a fall in the number of tenants searching for homes, gave renters more choice and more negotiation power - especially in Greater London and the South-East.
The 10-year picture
Despite the mst recent annual slowdown, rents are still more than 30 per cent higher in these regions than they were in 2007. In comparison, wages across Britain have only risen by 18 per cent during the same time period.
Will rents continue to drop during the rest of 2017?
Research director at Countrywide, Johnny Morris, says: “Early signs point towards 2017 being a rare year where rents rise faster in the north of the country than in the south.
"While rents are likely to track any increase in earnings, affordability in London and the South East remains stretched. That is likely to limit rental growth."
London and the South-East are the only two regions to record rental drop - leading to rents in Great Britain seeing the first overall annual fall since 2010. Across the rest of the UK, however, average rents rose by 2.7 per cent.
This was due to increased tenant demand, with the biggest increases seen in the East, East Midlands and North-West.