Buy-to-let rents rose by 3.4% during 2015 at the fastest pace since 2011, new figures show.
The average UK rent is now £794 a month although rising arrears suggest that some tenants are struggling to keep up.
The latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains, published today, shows that accelerating property prices have suppressed yields while boosting total annual returns to a healthy 11.3%.
Last year saw the fastest full calendar year for rent rises since 2011, when rents rose by 4%.
This means rents are easily outpacing inflation, currently 0.2% as measured by the consumer prices index.
In the East of England rents rose at twice the wider annual pace at 7.8%, followed by London at 6.3%
Yorkshire & Humber and West Midlands both saw new all-time record high rents in December.
But tenants felt the financial pressure over the Christmas period, with arrears rising to 9.3% of all rent due.
Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, said: “Rents reacted strongly in 2015, powered by welcome warmth from household earnings, growing pressure from supply, and the more troubling lack of housing in the UK. The combined force is skywards for rents.”
Gill said rapid growth is a mixed bag. “The fact that the majority of tenants can afford higher rents is certainly good news yet also raise a serious challenge for the future affordability of housing in this country. Everything else will need to keep up.”