Average rents rose 1.8 per cent across England and Wales to £865 per calendar month in the last year, according to the most recent data from Your Move.

Rents rose faster in the South West than any other region while London remains the most expensive place to rent with an average rent of £1,263.

Your Move said that while the lead up to Christmas can often cause a slowdown in the rental market, this year bucked that trend with rental prices rising compared to both November and the previous year.

While the level of rent increases has slowed in the last couple of years, there was still solid growth in most regions of England and Wales during 2018, Your Move found.

In the South West prices rose by 4.1 per cent to hit an average of £702. Three areas still have higher rents than the South West, although average rents dropped in two of these regions.

In the east of England the average rent is now £881, which represents a 1.4 per cent fall compared to December 2017, while in the South East prices rose - by 1.2 per cent - to reach £897.

Each of the 10 regions in the Your Move survey recorded the same average yields in December as they did in the previous month.

Across England and Wales the average also remained the same, at 4.3 per cent.

The North West, West Midlands, Wales and the East of England all ended the year with smaller yields than they did a year previously.

However, the East Midlands saw the average returns rising from 4.0 to 4.2 per cent year-on-year.

The two most northerly regions continued to have the best percentage returns for landlords: in the North East the average yield was 5.0 per cent while in the North West it was 4.8 per cent.