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Quarter of letting agents have seen rent hikes in 2015

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More than a quarter of letting agents have seen rents rise already this year, according to a new report.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents said 27% of its members had seen an increase in average rents between December 2014 and January 2015.

The East of England was home to the biggest number of landlords upping rents. The region, which includes Bedford, Cambridge and Norwich, saw 35% of agents reporting increasing rents.

This compares to 11% of agents in Wales, the lowest in the UK.

London remained the region with the highest demand for rental properties although it took an average of seven viewings before a property was taken off the market. The East of England saw properties let quickest, typically after three viewings.

David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said: “With house prices still high, along with stricter lending criteria for mortgages, the rental market is currently a much more accessible and affordable option to buying.

“Due to this, the demand for rental property is increasing, which impacts the cost of renting; people are willing to pay more to secure their desired property. If house prices continue to rise in 2015, we expect this trend to continue in the rental sector.”

Cox said the market in the East of England would be one to watch over the coming months.

“With rental properties in the East of England being quickly snapped up off the market, people don’t appear to be put off by the rising cost of rent in the region,” he said. “Clearly property in the area is popular; this will be an interesting trend to watch.”

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