Rental costs down 0.3% in January, says LSL
The cost of renting a home in England and Wales fell in January for the third month in a row, but remained higher than a year earlier, a survey says.
The average rent in January stood at £732 a month, according to LSL Property Services.
This was 0.3% down on the previous month and the lowest level since July last year, but 2.8% higher than in January 2012, the survey found.
The sharpest monthly fall in rental costs was in the south-east of England.
However, there was a rise of 1.2% in the East Midlands, and LSL - which owns Your Move and Reeds Rains - predicted rises on average in England and Wales in the coming months.
"An improving mortgage market in January helped take a little pressure off the limited supply of rental property, at a time when the demand from tenants on the move is far from its seasonal peaks," said David Newnes, LSL director.
"But the dip in competition is not likely to last long."
Recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) registered a pick-up in the number of first-time buyers who had secured a mortgage.
On Thursday, the Office of Fair Trading published a report calling for clearer information from lettings agents about their charges.
Many tenants and landlords had complained that some lettings agents "drip-fed charges" after a contract has been signed, the report said.