Rental costs up 1% in a year, says ONS

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Image caption The ONS releases figures on the rental market in Britain every three months

The cost of renting a home in Britain rose by 1% in the year to September, with the fastest growth seen in London and Scotland, official statistics show.

The increase - slower than the rising cost of living in general - included a 1% rise in England, a 0.2% increase in Wales and a 1.4% rise in Scotland.

Regionally, rent rises were led by a 1.5% rise in London, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The steady increase came as demand from buyers in the housing market rose.

The last year has seen greater activity among buyers and sellers compared with previous years. However, various data and surveys have suggested that the market has cooled slightly in recent months.

Jeremy Leaf, an estate agent and surveyor in north London, said that many potential first-time buyers were choosing to rent at present, owing to many properties having become unaffordable.

He also said that many in London were taking a bet on prices easing in the next few months.

He said that more could be done to assist first-time buyers in getting on the ladder, but there was a risk at present of the authorities "looking the other way" on the issue.

The ONS figures show that the slowest rent rises in the year to September were in Wales, up 0.2%, and in the North West of England, up 0.3%.

The figures record the cost of renting privately.

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