The West Midlands overtook the South West as the fastest growing area in terms of rent rises this month, the Your Move Rental Tracker has found.
The typical rent in the region increased by 4% in the year to April, reaching an average of £641. This was ahead of the South West, which had growth of 3.7% in the same period to hit £701.
Martyn Alderton, national lettings director at Your Move, said: “Across England and Wales there are those areas which are seeing rents rise, and those where they are flat or falling.
“It is the areas which have seen periods of strong growth in recent years, such as London and the East of England, which have dropped back slightly.
“Other areas of the country, including the West Midlands, are starting to catch up and are growing at an attractive rate.
“Regardless of the short-term rent fluctuations the property market remains a great place to invest, with landlords also enjoying stable returns compared to last month.”
Yorkshire and the Humber (2.5%), the North West (2.3%) and the East Midlands (2.2%) were the other regions which saw rents grow strongly on an annual basis.
At the other end of the scale, prices declined in two of the remaining regions. London was one of those to see a fall. Prices in the capital dropped by 1.1% but it remains the most expensive place to rent in the country, with the typical property let for £1,262 per month.
However, the bigger fall was found in the East of England. Rents declined by 2.2% in the last year, now standing at £874 per calendar month.
On a monthly basis, the East of England and the North East both saw rents fall by 0.1% – the only two areas to see rents fall.
The North East remains the cheapest place to rent, with an average monthly charge of £538, while the average price in the East of England is £874.
The remaining regions all saw rents rise or remain the same. Of those regions to see rents increase month-on-month, the West Midlands once again topped the chart, with a rise of 0.4% during April. The average rent across all of England and Wales grew by 0.1% month-on-month.
The average rent of £861 (seasonally adjusted) was 0.5% higher than April 2018. Landlords returns flat in past month. Property investors saw their returns remain stable between March and April, ending the recent squeeze on landlord returns.
Your Move found that properties in every region of England and Wales offered the same returns this month as they did in the previous survey.
Once again northern regions offered the highest percentage yields. For example, properties in the North East typically returned 5% to investors while that figure was 4.8% in the North West.
This contrasts with an average yield of 3.2% in London and 3.3% in both the South East and South West. The average yield across all of England and Wales was 4.3%, the same as March’s figure but slightly down compared to the 4.4% recorded a year ago.
There was a modest decrease in the number of tenants in financial difficulty during April.
Some 9.1% of all tenancies were behind with their payments during the month. This is lower than the 9.4% recorded in both March and February.
The proportion of tenants in arrears remains well below both the recent and all-time high recorded by Your Move. The all-time high of 14.6% was recorded in February 2010 while the most recent high of 13.7% was in July 2017.
The average property was let for £861 during the month. This is 0.5% higher than the same stage in 2018. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the average rent was £831 this month.