Money Wellness
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category iconcost of living
calendar icon18 Apr 2024

Biggest increase in the price of privately renting since records began

Private rents have increased by an estimated 9.2% in the last 12 months to March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

 This figure is up from 9% in the 12 months to February -  which means this is the highest annual increase since the UK data started in January 2015.

Meanwhile, the fall in house prices slows- the average UK house price fell by 0.2% in the 12 months to February, slowing from a decrease of 1.3% in the 12 months to January, and the average house price was £281,000.

 This data comes as inflation dropped to the lowest level in two and a half years, but not as much as expected.

 Private rent and house prices around the UK

 In the 12 months to February, average house prices:

  • Fell in England to £298,000 (1.1%decrease)
  • Fell in Wales to £211,000 (1.2% decrease)
  • Increased in Scotland to £188,000 (5.6% increase)
  • Increased in Northern Ireland to £178,000 (1.4% increase)

Meanwhile, the outlook for rent in March was:

  • In England, rent rose 9.1% (£107) from a year earlier and was £1,285
  • In Wales, private rent rose by 9% (£60), with the average private rent £727 in March
  • In Scotland, rent rose 10.5% (£90) with the average private rental being £947
  • Northern Ireland figures were only available up to January 2024: Average private rents in increased by 10.1% in the 12 months to January - the highest annual rise since records started in 2016.

Jake Finney, an economist at PwC UK, said, 'Ultimately, the extent of the recovery will depend upon the pace and scale of the Bank of England's rate cuts which are expected later this year.

'On the flip side, private rental inflation continues to reach new highs, adding to the cost-of-living pressures facing households.'

Struggling with rent costs?

Talk to your landlord

Try and maintain a good relationship with your landlord by being honest about the difficulties you’re facing. It can be awkward talking about money problems but your landlord can’t help you if they don’t know what’s going on.

Payment plan

See if you can agree a payment plan for any rent arrears you have. Work out a budget to see what’s affordable each month that you can share with your landlord.

Benefits check

It’s believed a whopping £19bn of income-related benefits and social tariffs go unclaimed every year in the UK. Make sure you’re not missing out on money you’re entitled to by using our free benefits calculator. Local councils also have money set aside to help people struggling with the rising cost of living. This money is provided under a scheme known as the household support fund. Contact your local council to see what’s available in your area. 

Prioritise your debts 

Rent is a priority debt, so you should pay this before things like credit cards, personal loans and buy now pay later. Find out more about how to deal with priority and non-priority debts

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments

The first step if you're struggling is to speak to your lender. They have a responsibility to offer tailored support.

The kind of help they may be able to offer includes:

  • extending the term of your mortgage to reduce your payments
  • a temporary switch to interest-only payments
  • a temporary reduction in payments
  • a temporary break in payments

Get free debt advice

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, you should get debt advice as soon as possible. Our debt advice is available online and over the phone. We’ll run through your finances and then let you know what help’s available. Maybe you just need a hand with budgeting. Or maybe you’d benefit from a debt solution.

Debt solutions can reduce your monthly debt repayments and even write off some of what you owe. Of course, you’ll need to weigh this up against the fact your credit rating’s likely to be affected. But we’ll run through all the info you need on your various options.

All of our advice is free and some debt solutions are also free. For others, there’s a fee. We’ll give you time to digest the info we’ve provided, talk it over with friends or family and ask us any questions you might have. If we’ve suggested a debt solution as a suitable option and you decide you’d like to go ahead, we can help get it set up for you.

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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