(Bloomberg) --

U.K. home rental costs rose 1.8% last year, the fastest annual pace in 3 1/2 years, adding to a squeeze on the budgets of consumers. 

The figures from the Office for National Statistics showed gains accellerating from 1.7% in November. Rents dropped 0.1% in London, a phenomena the ONS said reflects remote working, with fewer people expecting to continue a five-day-a-week commute after the pandemic. 

Britain’s consumers are bracing for a surge in taxes and energy bills due to hit in April -- on top of the strongest inflation in 30 years.

Read more: U.K. Inflation Surprises With Jump to Highest in 30 Years

London rents were the weakest of any U.K. region, with areas outside the urban centers doing better.

Separate data from the U.K. Land Registry showed house prices rose 1.2% in November from the previous month, with an annual increase of 10%. Again, London saw the slowest monthly growth of all English regions.

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