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Scottish rental market slows

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The Scottish rental market appears to be reaching an affordability limit, with rental prices flat compared to last month.

A Scottish buy-to-let Index from estate agents Your Move found rents had not increased between June and July, suggesting the market has plateaued for now.

The average property on the Scottish rental market commanded £549 per month, the survey found, still the highest on record.

Compared to a year ago rents are now 2.8% higher, but much of this growth came at the start of 2015. All regions of Scotland have seen rents rise in the last year, with the East, Highlands and Islands and the South of Scotland all reaching record rents.

However, rents in Scotland’s two major cities have seen smaller increases. The typical rent in Edinburgh and the Lothians is now 1.8% higher than July 2015, while the Glasgow and Clyde area has been home to a 1.7% yearly climb in rents.

Brian Moran, lettings director at Your Move Scotland, said the market was slowing in the summer months, with many tenants unable to take further rent rises.

“We’ve reached a tipping point in July. Rents in Scotland have been building to a crescendo so far in 2015, and rent rises have been quickening their step. But now we’ve reached a mid-point in the year, the rental market has clearly paused for breath,” he said.

The tightening of belts in Scottish cities could signal the start of a wider market slowdown, Moran suggested.

“Tenants will be relieved for now, but only time will tell whether we’ve reached a fork in the road for the private rented sector, or whether rent growth will start to amp up again as autumn approaches, and the age-old disparity between available homes and those looking to rent rears its head again.

“But while the overall momentum may have been suspended in mid-air, rents are at all-time highs – and importantly, not in the areas you might expect.

“With the severe squeeze on housing in the cities, households are casting their nets much more widely for places to live, which is driving somewhat of a renaissance in the more affordable areas of Scotland.”

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