Private rent inflation eased off in February

Lettings boards
Image caption Last month's fall in rents was just a temporary dip, LSL warns

Rental inflation eased off in February, according to the lettings and estate agency group LSL Property Services.

Its monthly survey of private rents across 18,000 UK properties saw them fall by 0.6% last month, to an average of £707 per property.

That took the annual inflation rate for private rents down to 3.5%, from 4.3% in January.

LSL said the fall was due to more tenants deciding to become home-buyers instead.

But the firm said that in the medium term, the demand for rented homes would push rents up again.

David Newnes, a director of LSL, said: "In February, an increased number of tenants either became owner occupiers or seriously considered property purchase, rather than renewing their contract or seeking a different rental property.

"With fewer tenants than usual actively competing for properties, combined with a slight improvement in the number of rental properties becoming available, many landlords priced less aggressively to avoid the prospect of a void period.

"In the longer term, it's difficult to see a prolonged decrease in the tenant demand underpinning rental inflation," he added.

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