UK housing
Rents in Central London are on the declineiStock

Rents on new lets are falling across more than half of Great Britain, according to Countrywide, the country's largest estate-agent group. In five of the nine areas recorded, rents dropped year-on-year in August, according to Countrywide's Monthly Lettings Index. But for Great Britain on the whole, the average rent on new lets rose by 1.5% to £960 a month.

In Central London, the South East, South West, Midlands, and Wales, rents had all fallen over the same period.

But in Greater London, East of England, the North, and Scotland rents were up, more than offsetting the declines elsewhere.

"In London and the South East, recent increases in the number of homes available to rent, outpacing the growth in tenants looking for a home, has meant that bargaining power is shifting towards tenants from landlords," said Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.

"This is slowing rental growth. Overall slightly more tenants are offering above asking price than last year. The majority continue to pay asking prices. Unlike the sales market rental prices adapt very quickly to changes in market conditions, meaning asking prices are finely tuned to tenant demand."

Monthly rental prices for new lets

RegionAv. Rent Aug-16Av. Rent Jul-16Av. Rent Aug-15August Rent YOY
Greater London£1,299£1,280£1,2880.90%
Central London£2,434£2,638£2,484-2.00%
East of England£977£963£9127.10%
South East£1,188£1,173£1,205-1.40%
South West£862£856£853-1.10%
Midlands£705£703£708-0.40%
North£697£694£6763.10%
Scotland£726£689£6964.30%
Wales£669£671£672-0.40%
GB£960£951£9461.50%

Monthly rental prices for occupied units

RegionAv. Rent Aug-16Av. Rent Jul-16Av. Rent Aug-15August Rent YOY
Greater London£1,225£1,222£1,1734.40%
Central London£2,404£2,419£2,455-2.10%
East of England£881£876£8375.30%
South East£1,007£1,004£9951.20%
South West£751£747£7302.90%
Midlands£639£638£6252.20%
North£633£631£6211.90%
Scotland£643£640£6351.30%
Wales£653£652£6500.50%
GB£869£867£8492.40%

Proportion of homes let above asking price

RegionAug-15Aug-16change
Greater London17%13%-3.70%
Central London17%8%-8.90%
East of England13%15%2.30%
South East14%14%0.10%
South West12%15%3.10%
Midlands10%11%0.90%
North10%10%-0.30%
Wales11%8%-2.70%
GB12%12%0.20%

Source: Countrywide Monthly Lettings Index for August 2016