42% of renters fear being stuck for life as average rents reach record high

42% of tenants say their biggest anxiety is that they will be stuck renting for the rest of their life, as London tenants now pay £2,633 a month, new data from Cornerstone Tax has revealed.

New research from Rightmove has revealed that average rents have reached record highs, with tenants typically paying £1,291 a month outside London and £2,633 in the capital.

Annual rental growth has increased in hotspot locations such as Reading and Coventry by 20%, alongside London which has seen a rise of 8.5% compared to the previous year, significantly outpacing inflation. 

David Hannah, group chairman of Cornerstone, highlighted that whilst clear affordability issues remain in the housing market, speculation of an interest rate cut later in the year could mean that there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for those currently stuck in the perpetual cycle of renting.

Cornerstone’s research report revealed the dire need for change in the rental market, which has been marred by rising prices and increased competition. 

Notably, 17% of tenants reported losing out on their desired rental properties due to bidding wars within the last two years.

The situation is also desperate for those who are lucky enough to secure a property, with a staggering 19% of Brits saying they have had to change rental properties more than five times in five years because of landlords and not through any fault of their own.

The escalating cost of renting has been a significant driver of change in the rental market, with the average cost of rent increasing by 8.3% over 2023; a figure buttressed by soaring interest rates and landlords passing on their escalating expenses to tenants.

As a result, 15% of buy-to-let landlords have decided to exit the sector, as revealed by Cornerstone’s research.

The tax advisory firm cites the mounting costs as a primary reason for selling their rental properties.

Furthermore, the survey found that 18% of potential buy-to-let landlords have been discouraged from entering the market due to increased regulations and rules.

This growing reluctance of buy-to-let landlords to enter the market will only serve to exacerbate the supply and demand issues which are currently causing upward pressure on prices and bidding wars due to the lack of stock.

Hannah said: “The relentless surge in interest rates by the Bank of England last year severely compromised the affordability of mortgages and affected buyers’ spending capacity.

“Yet, amid this challenging landscape, the latest report from Halifax may provide those stuck in the rental market with a glimmer of hope.

“Speculated interest rate cuts and the first recorded drop in house prices in six months, may suggest that affordability issues could subside towards the end of the year and early 2025.

“So, while the road ahead may seem uncertain, it’s important to remember that even in the face of a challenging market, the property market can adapt and rebound, offering opportunities for those who remain vigilant and strategic.”