Rents across the UK are increasing at the fastest rate since 2008 as strong demand outstrips supply, according to property website Zoopla.

Private sector rents in September were 4.6% higher than a year earlier at £ 968 per month on average, marking the strongest growth in 13 years, Zoopla found.

Excluding London, rents in the UK rose 6% per year, a figure which Zoopla said was a 14-year high.

Rents in the South West of England have increased by 9% per year, making it the region with the fastest rental growth in the third quarter of 2021.

And rents in Purbeck in Dorset have increased by 16.2% per year, making it the location with the highest rental growth rate.

Zoopla said demand continued to exceed supply and put upward pressure on rents.

The growth in rentals is also driven in part by the popularity of properties in higher price brackets, reflecting an ongoing search for premises during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rents in London are also starting to climb as people return to offices, with annual price growth of 1.6% recorded in the latest report, down from drops of nearly 10% earlier in the year.

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Annual rental price growth was 2.7% in Scotland (average 627 per month), 5.8% in Northern Ireland (633 per month typically) and 7.7% in Wales ( 660 per month).

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said: “The return of demand to city centers, including London, supported a further increase in rents in the third quarter, especially as the supply of goods rental remains restricted. “

She added, “Meanwhile, just like in the for-sale market, there is always a cohort of renters looking for properties with more space, or a more rural or coastal location.