Average rents in northern England have recorded the first annual fall in nearly four years, according to an index.
In April, the cost of a new let across the North West, the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber fell by 0.3% compared with a year earlier, the Hamptons International Monthly Lettings Index said.
It was the first year-on-year fall since June 2014.
The average monthly rent across the northern regions in April was £622.
By contrast, average new lets in southern England – made up of London, the South East, the South West and the East – were up by 2.2% year-on-year, reaching £1,372 per month on average.
Across Britain, average rents rose 1.9% year-on-year in April to reach £953 per month.
Hamptons said that, following the introduction of a stamp duty hike for second home owners in 2016, including buy-to-let investors, the supply of homes available for rent in the South has fallen, while in the North it has remained more resilient.
It said last month there were 19% more available homes to rent in the North than in April 2016, compared with 16% fewer homes available to rent in the South.
In Scotland, average new let prices were down by 5.3% year-on-year in April, at £584 per month.
In Wales, rents increased by 3.4% year-on-year to reach £656 per month on average.
Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International, said: “Low stock levels in the South continue to drive rental growth as tenants compete for fewer available homes.
“Since April 2016, the month the stamp duty surcharge was introduced for second homeowners, landlords across Great Britain have sold 88,000 more homes than they bought.
“But landlords are finding new ways to maximise their returns by purchasing properties elsewhere, particularly further North in search of lower stamp duty bills and higher yields.”
Source: Yahoo Finance UK