Rents across England and Wales have increased by an average of 0.5 per cent over the last 12 months to hit £861 per calendar month (pcm) in March, the latest data from Your Move shows.

The West Midlands overtook the South West as the fastest growing area this month, the data found.

Typical rents in the region increased by 4 per cent in the year to April, to reach an average of £641pcm, ahead of the South West, which had growth of 3.7 per cent in the same period to hit £701pcm.

Other areas to post strong growth include Yorkshire and the Humber, where prices grew by 2.5 per cent to hit £589pcm, the North West where rents are up 2.3 per cent to £648pcm, as well as the East Midlands where rents have increased by 2.2 per cent over the past 12 months to hit £666pcm.

At the other end of the scale, prices declined in two regions, with rents in London dropping by 1.1 per cent, while the East of England has seen rents decline by 2.2 per cent in the last year, now standing at £874pcm.

London remains the most expensive region to rent property in the UK, with the typical property let for £1,262pcm.

The North East remains the cheapest place to rent, with an average monthly charge of £538pcm.

Once again, northern regions offered the highest percentage yields, led by properties in the North East which typically returned 5 per cent to investors, while that figure was 4.8 per cent in the North West.

This contrasts with an average yield of 3.2 per cent in London and 3.3 per cent in both the South East and South West.

The average yield across all of England and Wales was 4.3 per cent, the same as March’s figure but slightly down compared to the 4.4 per cent recorded a year ago.

The data also shows that tenant finances remain relatively healthy, with the proportion of tenants struggling with their finances stood at 9.1 per cent in April, down from 9.4 per cent in March and February, Your Move found.

Martyn Alderton, national lettings director at Your Move, said: “Across England and Wales there are those areas which are seeing rents rise, and those where they are flat or falling.

“It is the areas which have seen periods of strong growth in recent years, such as London and the East of England, which have dropped back slightly.

“Other areas of the country, including the West Midlands, are starting to catch up and are growing at an attractive rate.

“Regardless of the short-term rent fluctuations the property market remains a great place to invest, with landlords also enjoying stable returns compared to last month.”