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Scotland rent growth languishes behind rest of UK

Rents for private rented homes in Scotland returned the lowest growth in the UK in the year to January 2019, according to the latest official data.

They increased by just 0.7 per cent, compared to 1.1 per cent in England and 0.9 per cent in Wales, says the Private Housing Rental Cost Index from the Office for National Statistics.

The report shows rent growth across the UK has slowed over the past three years, mainly due to a slowdown in London rents over the same period.

Some property experts blame increased taxes and more property sector regulation for lack of growth in the market.

A new report from the broker trade body the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) predicts rents will keep rising, but buy to let will suffer from a lack of supply as landlords purchase fewer homes.

“Landlords are now facing the challenges of increased legislation and changes to mortgage interest tax relief. As buy to let borrowers start to feel the effects of income tax changes reflected in their most recent tax bills, the pressure to increase rental prices is likely to mount,” said IMLA executive director Kate Davies.

IMLA suggests buy to let borrowing will fall by six per cent to £36 billion in 2019, which is a decrease from 66,000 homes bought in 2018 to 59,000 in 2019.

Another report from lender trade body UK Finance confirms house prices in Scotland are at near pre-financial crisis levels after dropping 76 per cent between 2007 and 2009.

“The Edinburgh market is now only 15 per cent off peak levels, and Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow remain 35 per cent to 40 per cent down on where they were in 2007,” says the report.

The last quarter of 2018 saw 5,100 new buy to let mortgages worth £700 million and 12,400 remortgages worth £2 billion.

The number of new mortgages was 5.6 per cent down compared with 12 months earlier, while remortgage levels were up 25 per cent.