PEOPLE are flocking to live in Chelmsford - as latest stats reveal rent has rocketed in the city by 14 per cent already this year.

Renters in the city are now paying an average of £926 a month.

The latest survey, by estate agents Balgores Property, shows the steep rise has materialised since December.

Howard Lester, director of Balgores, said: “Demand for rental property has soared as home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest percentage in nearly a quarter of a century.

“Throughout 2014, we are likely to see continued demand for rental accommodation in Essex and a slowdown in price rises.

“This is good news for tenants who have borne the brunt of above inflation price rises over the last few years.”

Other estate agents based in the city said it was “no surprise” to see the rent market doing so well locally.

Iain Large, from Ewe Move, said the good reputation Chelmsford has as a nice place to live is a key reason for the increases.

Mr Large said: “With London prices soaring out of reach for many people, Chelmsford is a very appealing alternative for young professionals and the more middle aged looking to get out of the big city but still wanting plenty to do.

“Chelmsford has a very active community of overseas workers who are renting the rooms and cheaper accommodation that would have previously been taken up by younger people, pushing rents up further.

“With the new station at Beaulieu Park, and the planned development for the city, I can only see house prices and rents increasing for some time to come.”