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Towns within commuting distance of major cities have seen some of the biggest rent rises of the last three years, new research suggests.

The cost of new lets rose by more than a third in areas such as Bolton and Newport between 2020 and 2023, property portal Zoopla said.

Although Glasgow, London, Manchester and Edinburgh also saw big rises, new working patterns have made an impact.

Working from home has allowed some to rent bigger places further from cities.

Richard Donnell, Zoopla's executive director of research, said: "They may only go into the office two or three times a week and, if they are in a flat, may have looked for a bit more room,"

Agents said there had been "staggering" levels of competition in areas with easy transport access to bigger cities.

This lack of supply has been key to soaring rents across the UK.

The number of rented homes had barely changed since 2016, according to Mr Donnell from Zoopla, failing to keep pace with exceptional demand in the last couple of years.

He said that immigration, a relatively strong jobs market and the return of students since the pandemic had led to demand in cities, prompting some tenants to look further afield.

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