The average monthly rent increased by 3.1% year-on-year to £861 per month in February, while Scotland saw the most significant increase of 9.6% to £626.
Nick Dunning, group commercial director at Countrywide, said: “Location is key to Buy-to-let investment and as the findings show, landlords tend to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area.
“Given 94% of UK landlords own a single rental property, many choose to take a hands on approach in regards to management, so favour being closer to their rental accommodation.”
Just 6% of landlords own more than a single property, while in London only 4% do.
The capital has the largest proportion of landlords living more than 100 miles away, with more than one in five doing so, nearly twice the national average.
Dunning added: “Towns and cities always prove particularly popular with tenants due to their range of amenities and facilities. Locations with good road and rail links are also high on the list of desirables for tenants, making these types of places reliable for buy-to-let investment.
“Growing average monthly rents across the UK shows the increasing attractiveness of regions outside London. London still remains a good place to buy property given exceptionally strong capital growth over the last 12 months but investors are venturing further afield for investment opportunities.”
The average monthly rent in the UK in February 2014 was £861, up 0.2% month-on-month and 3.1% year-on-year. Seven out of 10 regions saw a decrease in average monthly rent however, with Yorkshire and Humber seeing a 6% decrease, yet Central London and the South West saw a 4.1% rise.
Over the past year however average monthly rents have increased in eight out of 10 regions, with Scotland seeing the most significant increase up 9.6% year-on-year to £626, followed by Central London, up 8.5% to £2,630.
Rent arrears decreased in all regions apart from Scotland and the East of England in February, where they rose 2.7% and 0.1% respectively. The North East saw the greatest decrease in rent arrears, at 1.8%.