Rent prices in city centres fall - where are the best bargains?

Rent prices in city centres fall - where are the best bargains?

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

A flood of properties coming on to the market in a number of the UK largest city centres is providing “an opportunity” for tenants to find city-centre properties that would normally be too expensive, a quarterly index on rental asking prices has revealed.


Rightmove’s quarterly rental trends tracker highlighted asking rents at the centres of 10 of the biggest cities around the UK. It suggests that the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has led to a trend towards tenants looking for more spacious homes in quieter suburbs.

Where can I get a bargain rental?

Inner London has been hardest hit, with average asking rents falling annually by 12.4% – now £2,219 a calendar month – followed by Edinburgh city centre, down 10% (£1,124), and Manchester city centre down 5.3% (£1,022).

The other cities, where rents are down significantly over the year are Birmingham (-4.6% to £883 a calendar month), Leeds (-4.4%/£811), and Glasgow (-2.5%/£894).

Bristol and Liverpool were the only two city centres in the 10 largest cities, where rents did go up. In both cases, this was just a 2% rise, and below the national average of 3.7%. 

Which city centres have lots of rentals available?

The knock-on effect of some tenants exiting city centres is that prospective tenants now have a bigger pool of properties to choose from.

Rental properties on Rightmove more than doubled in some city centres, with the biggest jumps in Leeds (+179%), Inner London (+139%), Nottingham (+139%), Edinburgh (109%) and Manchester (109%).

Tim Bannister, director of Property data at Rightmove, said: “The price premium that many tenants are usually willing to pay to have the vibrancy of a city centre on their doorstep has been tempered for now.

“This brings a challenge for some landlords but also an opportunity for tenants who may be able to make a longer-term decision and move into a city centre now, perhaps on a two-year tenancy agreement, at a more attractive rent than this time last year.

“There’s no doubt that higher rents will return once life goes back to some form of normality, but it will be the city centre properties with gardens and balconies that will be able to command the biggest premiums.”

Find out how your on-time rent payments can count towards your credit score or if you're looking to buy, discover the UK's property hotspots.

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author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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Rent prices in city centres fall - where are the best bargains? Rent prices in city centres fall - where are the best bargains?