RENT in Southampton has gone up over the last year costing renters nearly £850 a month, according to a new index.

In Southampton in the final quarter of 2019, rent was up by 1.7 per cent - with the average rent costing £843.

But despite the increase, figures have revealed that rent in Southampton is still lower than the national average.

Across the UK, the average monthly rent in the final quarter of 2019 was £886 - up by 2.6 per cent annually.

This was nearly double the 1.4 per cent annual growth in private rents seen a year earlier, according to the findings from Zoopla.

Tax changes in recent years, which have eaten into landlords' profits, mean the supply of rental homes has dwindled.

At the same time, demand from tenants has increased, pushing rental prices upwards, according to the index.

It said the 2.6 per cent annual increase in rents across the UK is the highest rate seen in three years.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: "New investment by landlords has fallen since the introduction of tax changes in 2016 and this has been felt most keenly in southern England where property values are highest and yields lowest.

"This is creating scarcity and explains why rents are rising."

He continued: "We expect rents to increase by 3.5% over 2020 as a lack of supply supports faster growth."

In neighbouring city Portsmouth, rent has increased by 2.4 per cent at a total of £858, and in Bournemouth rent has increased by 2.9 per cent at a total of £954.

Some cities are seeing rents increase by 5 per cent or more annually, including York, Bristol and Nottingham.

In Bristol and York, the relatively high cost of buying a home is likely to be supporting rental demand and, in turn, rental growth, Zoopla said.

In Nottingham, demand for renting has grown faster than the national average over 2019, it added.

At the other end of the spectrum, rents in Aberdeen are down by 2.9 per cent annually.

The average monthly rents in the fourth quarter of 2019 in England is £910, a total increase of 2.5 per cent.

In Wales it is £599, up by 2.7 per cent, Scotland is £628, up by 3.6 per cent, and in Northern Ireland it is £581, up by 1.9 per cent.