LONDON, June 17 (UPI) -- The average rent in England hit a record high in May, up 0.5 percent from April, figures in a closely watched index show.
The LSL Property Services buy-to-let index showed the average rent in May reached $1,124.
Prices rose fastest in London, surging 7.8 percent.
In the east and northeast of England, rents rose 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, The Guardian reported Friday.
In the West Midlands rents dropped April to May, falling 0.7 percent. In the southwest, rents shed 0.6 percent and in Wales they slid 0.2 percent.
Rents are rising with demand propped up by the difficulty of first-time home buyers finding mortgages. As buying has slowed, demand for rental property has increased.
Counterintuitively, as rents go up, the percentage of tenants behind on their rent has dropped.
In England and Wales, 11.5 percent of tenants were behind on their rent in May, down from 11.8 percent in April.