After a year of rising rents, prices levelled out in December, and even dipped in some areas.
The final Goodlord Rental Index of 2019 saw rents in most areas unchanged from November but in the North East average rent prices fell by 3%, from £607 to £588.
Despite the stall in numbers, the figures cut an “encouraging note” during the traditional pre-Christmas slowdown, according to Goodlord,.
Some areas did see rises: Greater London saw an increase in rent of 2%, while rent prices in the North West and Wales rose by 3%.
The average cost to rent a property in the UK during December was £902, down on the year’s average of £927 per month.
London continues to be the most expensive place to rent in the UK, with the North East, Wales, and the Midlands the most affordable.
December is traditionally a quiet time in the housing market, but it proved a healthier month for void periods. The average void period dropped from 24 to 19 days, compared to an annual average for 2019 of 20 days.
All regions covered in the report saw a slight decrease in void periods with the exception of the South West, which saw averages increase from 17 to 19 days. The South East saw a fairly sizable drop compared to November, from 28 days to just 21.
The Rental Index also revealed that the average age of those renting homes in the UK has remained at 34 years for the third month in a row.
At 36, the East Midlands has the oldest average tenant, while London and the North West have the youngest, with an average age of 32.
Tom Mundy, Chief Operating Officer at Goodlord, said: “Mid-November leading into December is traditionally quiet for the rental market, so these numbers are actually quite encouraging.
“Rent decreases were slight across most regions, alongside some modest increases, with other regions holding steady.
“Void periods were down in the majority of regions as tenants looked to finalise leases ahead of the Christmas break.
“We ended the year sitting slightly higher than 2019 averages on some key metrics – an encouraging note to round off what has been a seismic year for the industry.”