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24 June 2015, 07:35
Average rents in Scotland reached a new peak in May after a record monthly increase, according to new figures.
An all-time high of £544 per month was reached following a 1.0% boost last month, the latest Buy-to-Let Index from lettings agent network Your Move shows.
The rise was powered by a 1.9% monthly increase in the south of Scotland during the month - the biggest regional change.
May's increase represents the strongest monthly uplift on record. In contrast, over the past six months, rents have risen by an average of just 0.1% per month.
It means typical residential rents have now risen 2.7% (equivalent to £14) in the past year - the fastest annual increase in rental prices for nine months, since the height of lettings market activity in August last year.
Brian Moran, lettings director at Your Move Scotland, said: "The Scottish rental market has finally shed its winter coat and is starting to emerge brighter-eyed and bushy-tailed for the summer months. Growth has more than doubled since March, when annual rent rises were only 1.3%.
"To put this into context, we've just turned a full circle. After a down-trend in rent growth over the winter months, we're now back on par with the rate of rises a year ago. In fact, at the same time last year, rents were rising at a moderately faster pace, with 2.8% annual growth in May 2014.
"Affordability is one of the main handicaps reining back private sector rents from rising even faster, but with recent boosts to wage growth most household incomes are weighing in higher and tenants can finally afford to pay more.
"However, this needs to go hand-in-hand with supply. With a strong economy and sturdy jobs market, demand for homes to let is standing tall. The stock of available housing needs to rise to match this level to maintain the delicate balance with rent rises, and tenant incomes.''
Tenant finances are also starting to look healthier - with the proportion of rent in arrears down from 9.2% in April to 8.8% in May.
However, this still represents a decline on an annual basis, with rent paid in arrears up from just 6.4% in May last year.