The East Midlands and the East of England led the UK's rental growth in the first half of the year while London recorded its first annual rise since 2016, the latest index data shows.

The East Midlands recorded a rise of 0.95 per cent and the East of England an increase of 0.70 per cent, according to the Landbay index.

Rents in London grew by 0.1 per cent in the 12 months to June 2018, the first annual rental rise in the city since December 2016, with rental values up in 25 out of the 33 boroughs over the last six months.

The average rent paid in the UK is £764 per calendar month and in London it is £1,884, some 2.5 times the rest of the country.

John Goodall, chief executive of Landbay, says the data provides cautious grounds for optimism.

While there remains a huge degree of regional variation, the overall trend has been a slowing of rents across the UK in the first half of this year he said.

However, much of this has been London weighing down heavily on otherwise resilient growth across the UK.

Now that London rents have bounced back to growth this could all be about to change.

Wherever they're based, landlords have had to face a myriad of challenges over the past two years, with regulatory and tax changes reshaping the sector.

Despite this, there has been little sign of them passing on additional costs to tenants, he pointed out.

However, with a rate rise on the horizon, meaning a rise in the cost of borrowing for landlords, we may well start to see landlords increasing rents in the coming months to stay afloat.

A breakdown of the figures show that overall in the UK rents increased by 0.07 per cent month on month and 0.81 per cent year on year to an average of £1,204, but excluding London monthly growth was 0.1 per cent and annual growth 1.19 per cent to an average rent of £764.

In England rents increased 0.07 per cent month on month and 0.77 per cent year on year to ££1,236.

In Wales they increased by 0.15 per cent on a monthly basis and 1.69 per cent year on year to £651.

In Scotland rent rose by 0.1 per cent month on month and 1.09 per cent year on year to £734 and in Northern Ireland they rose 0.01 per cent on a monthly basis and 1.7 per cent on an annual basis to £573.

So far this year rents have increased by 0.4 per cent nationwide, by 0.54 per cent excluding London, by 0.38 per cent in England, by 0.9 per cent in Wales, by 0.46 per cent in Scotland and by 0.72 per cent in Northern Ireland.

At the beginning of the year research from Equifax a credit reference agency saw more than half of tenants in London and Scotland expecting their rents to increase in the coming year and more than a third in all other English regions. To find out more, click here.