Last month rents in Great Britain rose for the first time since the start of the first lockdown, up 1.4% year-on-year to £1,041 per month.
The biggest rise was in the South West (5.9%), followed by Scotland (3.8%) and Outer London (3.3%).
Meanwhile the biggest fall by far was in Inner London (-14.9%), where rents have dropped from £2,564 to £2,182.
There was also a small fall of -0.4% in Wales.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “Rents started to pick up steam in October.
“Following six months of stagnation, rental growth accelerated to 1.4% across Great Britain, marking the first annual increase since March. But the shift in tenant preferences since the spread of Covid-19 has meant that rents are now rising faster in country rather than in city locations.
“The flexibility of the rental market has meant that while some renters have decided to make a permanent move out of cities in search of more space, others have moved out temporarily. The opportunity to work from home means tenants can save while paying less rent in more rural areas.”
Beveridge added: “As a result, the gap between rents in cities and the countryside is closing. Tenants making the move from city to country last month spent 31% less on rent, down from a 38% saving in October 2019. But it seems as though these changes have been firmly priced in and we expect the gap to widen again next year.
“This change in tenant preference is one of the reasons why rents in Inner London are falling so much.
“Meanwhile last month’s figures showed that the rental market in Outer London is recovering. Outside of the capital, rents are rising quickly. Rents in the North of England reached new record highs and the South West recorded the strongest growth in five years.”