Rental prices in Bristol soaring faster than national average according to Zoopla

Rental prices are rising faster in Bristol than the national average leading to renters increasingly looking for smaller flats, according to a property website.

Zoopla said the average annual growth in the price of rent is 12.3% across the UK, but it is even higher in Bristol, rising by 12.9%.

It means the average rent has increased by £115 per month since last year across the country, which equates to the average rent now costing £1,051 per month.

The property site said this means the average tenant now gives up slightly more than a third of their income (34.4%) to pay their rent - and this is rising faster than the average salary.

But the rising cost of private rented accommodation is also pushing people to look for smaller homes with fewer bedrooms, according to Zoopla.

Its report said: “We have seen a steady reduction in the proportion of renters looking for two and three-bed houses, and an increase in demand for one and two-bed flats over 2021 and 2022. This trend has been accelerating in recent weeks.”

Shelter Bristol said 27% of renters in Bristol rely on housing benefits to pay their rent. Credit: ITV West Country

As well as cheaper to rent, smaller properties are often less expensive to run in terms of energy costs, with a one-bed home requiring less than half the gas that’s needed for a three-bed home, it's claimed.

New-build city-centre flats in particular are also becoming increasingly appealing, Zoopla said. As well as potentially having energy efficiency advantages, they may also be located closer to where some renters work, helping them to save on transport costs.

Surging rental prices have been driven by a supply and demand imbalance, with the stock of homes available to rent standing at just half of the five-year average.

The supply shortage is also being impacted by an increase in renters staying put in their current properties in the hope of avoiding rent hikes and landlords continuing to sell properties in the face of tax and regulatory changes, according to the website.

This means the situation is not likely to change.

The site's report concludes: "There is no real prospect of a significantly improved rental supply in the near term, as private landlords continue to sell off homes and renters stay put for longer.

"The imbalance in supply and demand is here to stay, and rents will continue to rise at above-average levels into 2023 across the more affordable markets. "

But despite this, the company's executive director has said that the pace of growth may be peaking and might slow down into 2023.

Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla said: “Renters are responding and looking for smaller, better value-for-money homes to rent with an eye on energy costs as much as rental levels.

“What the rental market needs to combat these challenges is more new homes for rent. 

“Greater regulation has discouraged some landlords from investing and more are exiting, meaning the rental market has stopped growing since 2016. 

“Policymakers need to tread a careful path between protecting consumers and ensuring a decent supply of homes for rent.”