Ahead of the forthcoming Spring Budget, experts are calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to consider the West Midland’s renters alongside homeowners and first-time buyers as prices increase this month by +0.6%. Income tax cuts and assistance to help people get on the property ladder are rumoured amongst other changes within the property industry. But so far, nothing has been hinted at for the rental market.

HomeLet and Let Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Halstead has stated his disappointment, saying: “Whilst we appreciate the Government’s efforts to support people in buying a house, we have to remember that nearly 5 million people are living in rented homes – and not all of them want to get on the property ladder.

“Many tenants prefer the flexibility of renting, whilst others appreciate it as a reliable housing option, without the need for a substantial deposit. Even with 95% mortgages, something the Government is reportedly considering in the Spring Budget, with the average cost of a property in the UK being £264,400, that’s still over £13,000 that most people simply don’t have to spare.”

Andy’s comments come as HomeLet releases its latest Rental Index, which is published monthly and analyses archived rents to paint a general picture of the UK market and the situation for the West Midlands’s renters too.

This month, the data not only reveals that rent is beginning to creep up in the West Midlands again (by +0.6%), but also that the rent-to-income ratio continues to soar, with renters forking out 31.5% of their wages on rent, before utilities and other living costs. This figure is +2.8% higher than 2023 alone and continues to creep up YoY – a concerning trend.

What’s more, successive price increases across the region could mean that renters are paying out £6pcm more on their rent compared to January alone.

Of the data, Andy Halstead adds: “Price rises in the West Midlands, coupled with an alarming rent-to-income ratio increase should show the Government that now is the time to act. The rental market needs urgent support for both landlords and tenants alike – not everybody is in a position to buy a home right now. Not everyone wants to. Which is why I urge the Chancellor to consider the nation’s renters during the Spring budget too. Time is running out!

“Mounting costs in property management and maintenance have sent rental prices through the roof, which is a lose-lose situation. Tenants are struggling to sensibly match their wages to monthly rent, and landlords are faced with defaults and vacancies as a result.

“We’d like to not only see the rental market considered in the Spring Budget, but action brought about. More support for landlords dealing with the soaring cost of living, which can then be passed on to tenants and go somewhat into mitigating the soaring overheads we are sadly reporting on most months in our Rental Index.

“A rent-to-income ratio of 31.5% in the West Midlands, that continues to creep up, is not sustainable for anybody within the industry. Therefore, we wish to see more provisions for the housing industry as a whole, not just for those who want to buy.”

Further findings from the HomeLet Rental Index indicate:

– UK rent is up +7.4% YoY.

– Rent-to-income ratios in the UK continue to rise unabated.

– Greater London is one of the only regions to enjoy another rent decrease this month, with figures falling by -0.5%.

The full breakdown of rent increases, variances and rent-to-income ratios can be found on the HomeLet website.

The HomeLet Rental Index provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date data on rental values in the UK. The trends reported within the HomeLet Rental Index are from data on actual achieved rental values for just-agreed tenancies arranged in the most recent period – providing an in-depth insight into the lettings market and what’s happening right now across the UK.