Private rental prices in the UK have reached record highs, official figures have revealed.
The average price paid by tenants in the UK rose by 6.2 per cent in the 12 months to December 2023, making last year the steepest on record for rent rises, according to the Office of National Statistics.
This was unchanged from the annual percentage change in the 12 months to November 2023, and the joint-highest annual percentage change since the UK records started in January 2016.
The stark new figures come as a poll found millions of people in the UK have delayed major life decisions such as starting a family because of uncertainty about housing.
A quarter of people in England, around 14.1 million people, said insecure housing had led them to put their lives on hold, with the figure rising to more than two-fifths of adults under 35, according to the poll on behalf of housing association Hyde Group.
The Indepedent has put together this interactive map below showing the annual change in private rental prices from December 2022 to December 2023. Lighter shades show the areas in the UK that have seen the small changes in price and darker colours show the areas with the largest increases in rent.
Rents in Scotland increased by 6.3 per cent in the 12 months to December 2023 – the highest annual rate since the Scotland records started in January 2012.
In England, private rental prices increased by 6.1 per cent in the year to December 2023, which was unchanged from the annual percentage change in November.
When London is excluded from the England figures, private rental prices increased by 5.7 per cent in the 12 months to December 2023. The ONS said the figures are the joint-highest annual percentage changes since the records started in January 2006.
Private rental prices in London increased by 6.8 per cent in the year to December 2023, down slightly from a record-high rise of 6.9 per cent in the 12 months to November 2023.
Rents in Wales rose by 7.1 per cent in the year to December 2023, edging down from a record high increase of 7.3 per cent in the 12 months to November 2023.
Private rental prices in Northern Ireland increased by 9.3 per cent in the 12 months to October 2023. The annual rate for Northern Ireland has generally slowed since a recent peak of 10.0 per cent in the 12 months to March 2023.
Sam Richards, a former Downing Street adviser and founder of pro-growth think tank Britain Remade, said: “The amount that people are having to pay for rent, especially in London, is simply out of control.
“It is astonishing that the rent paid for a one-bedroom flat in the capital will get you a three-bedroom home in the rest of England.
“The only way we can fix this is by reforming our outdated planning system so we can get spades in the ground and build more homes.
“Not only will this allow young people to once again fulfil their dreams of owning their own homes, but it is also critical to boosting productivity and job creation in and around our major cities.
“Until we build the homes Britain needs, millions of people up and down the country will be denied the dream of home ownership, while renters will be condemned to paying ever increasing eye-watering rents.”
The Hyde Group poll, carried out by Savanta, surveyed 2,226 people between December 1 and 14.