Rents reaching high levels

Private rents have reached their second highest levels since 2008 as activity returns to the sector, a major lettings network has reported.

At £743 on average, monthly rents in August were just £1 less than an all-time high recorded in October 2012, according to LSL Property Services, which owns Your Move and Reeds Rains.

The pace of rent increases stepped up to 0.7% month-on-month in August, following a 0.2% monthly uplift in July.

Rents are 1.3% higher across England and Wales than a year ago, although the increase is still less than half the rate of consumer price index (CPI) inflation at 2.7%.

The majority of potential first-time buyers in Britain would have lower monthly mortgage repayments compared with renting – except in London, the South East and Scotland, says a report.

Across Britain, mortgage payments for those with a 20% deposit for a home are around £127 cheaper a month than renting, Santander Mortgages found.

But exceptionally high house prices in London mean it would, on average, cost potential first-time buyers an additional £478 a month to buy.

Potential homeowners in Scotland face an £85 difference between their monthly rent and mortgage payment, while those in the South East would need an extra £56.

Less than half of home buyers would rule out a property that had been a murder scene

People would rather buy a house that had been the scene of a murder than one that is at risk of flood or subsiding.

The survey of 13,000 people by consumer help website found that around three-quarters would rule out a house at risk of subsiding or flood damage or in a high crime area, but only 42% would be put off by a murder at the property.