Average monthly rents outside London increased from £982 to £1,088 year-on-year, representing an increase of 10.8%.
Rising rents mean it now costs 15% more to rent a property than two years ago, when the pandemic kicked off, while the increase has largely been driven by an imbalance between supply and demand.
The steepest annual rise is in Swansea (19.7%), followed by Manchester (19.3%) and Margate (18.8%), data from Rightmove shows.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove said: “In the first three months of this year, we’ve seen tenant demand exceed the high levels set last year.
“When coupled with fewer available homes for rent, this has resulted in the most competitive rental market we’ve ever recorded.”
Rising rents have been driven by the growing divide between supply and demand, as there are 50% fewer rental properties on the market, while 6% more tenants are trying to rent than a year ago.
In London there’s been an 81% increase in tenant demand and a 47% drop in stock, which has driven rents to £2,193.
Bannister added: “There are several factors affecting supply and demand.
“On the supply side, we’re hearing from agents and landlords that tenants are signing longer leases, which has prevented some of the stock that would normally come back onto the market from doing so.
“When it comes to demand, we’re still seeing the effects of the pandemic, whereby tenants are balancing what they need from a home and how close they need to live to work with where they can afford.”