(Bloomberg) -- London rental inflation cooled from record highs, an early sign that the squeeze on the capital’s tenants may be beginning to ease.

Private rents in the city rose 10.8% in April compared with a year earlier, marking the slowdown in five months, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. 

It was down from 11.2% in March, which was the highest in records going back to 2006. UK-wide rental inflation also pulled back from all-time highs to 8.9%.

The figures will be welcomed by those struggling with housing costs that have added to the cost-of-living crisis. However, London rental prices are still over £2,000 per month. That’s more than £300 higher than it was before the pandemic.

The squeeze facing tenants may be on the agenda at a general election expected later this year, as a wider housing crisis turns young voters away from the ruling Conservatives. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves recently said there may be a case for rent controls in some local areas but stressed she was skeptical over a “blanket approach.”

The surge in rental costs has been fueled by a lack of supply in London meeting a bounce back in demand following the pandemic.

“The number of new tenants has risen every month since the market reopened after lockdown,” said Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown. “The number of households continues to grow, as the population increases and more people live alone, so there are simply more people who need somewhere to rent.”

Separately, the Land Registry said that house prices rose 0.7% month-on-month in March. Prices were up 1.8% compared to a year earlier, the first annual growth in nine months. 

However, more timely industry data based on mortgaged buyers only suggests that the rebound in house prices stalled in recent months, as high loan rates dampen the recovery.

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