08 Mar 24

Towns within commuting distance of big cities have seen some of the UK’s largest rent rises in recent years, says Zoopla.

The cost of new lets rose by more than a third in Bolton, Newport and Bradford between 2020 and 2023, as working from home encouraged people to rent bigger places further from cities.

“They may only go into the office two or three times a week and, if they are in a flat, may have looked for a bit more room” according to Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s executive director of research.

The figures, compiled for the BBC, tracked rents in 65 cities and large towns in the UK. Six of the 10 biggest increases were within relatively easy access to London, Leeds and Cardiff. They included Wigan, Newport, Bradford, Rochdale and Luton.

But they were led by Bolton, where rents for new lets were up nearly 39 per cent in three years, including almost 15 per cent in 2023 alone.

The number of rented homes had barely changed since 2016, failing to keep pace with exceptional demand in the last couple of years.

Donnell believes immigration, a strong jobs market and the return of students after the pandemic led to demand for city flats, prompting some tenants to look further afield.

Although rents are expected to keep rising, tenants should see the pace of growth fall quite sharply in the coming year, according to Donnell; he says some over-ambitious asking rents are already being reduced on portals.

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