Rents across England and Wales ended last year with falls over the last two months, while tenants’ rental arrears worsened.
But despite the seasonal fall, rents in December were 3.2% higher than the year before.
The average rent in England and Wales fell by 0.9% in December to £734 per month.
The largest falls were in the East of England and North-East, where rents dropped by 1.7%. These were closely followed by London where rents fell 1.5% and the South-East with a 1.3% fall.
Three regions had monthly increases – the West Midlands, South-West and Wales.
On an annual basis, rents remained higher than a year ago in eight out of ten regions.
Alongside rises in property values over the year, annual rental inflation means the total annual return for 2012 on a rental property grew to 6.2% in December. This represents an average return of £9,986 with rental income of £7,835 and a capital gain of £2,150.
The total amount of rent late or unpaid grew to the highest level since August 2012, with total arrears of £326m, up from £241m in November. This equates to 10.1% of all rent across England and Wales, up from November’s arrears which represented 7.4% of all rent.
All figures are from the property group LSL.