RENT prices in Chelmsford rocketed between January and April this year, figures have revealed.

On average, tenants paid £1,091 a month for a place to live compared to £796 at the start of the year - a rise of almost 37 per cent.

That number dwarfs the average across Essex of 14 per cent in the year's first quarter.

Howard Lester, director of Balgores Property which released the stats, said: "Chelmsford has seen rent prices escalate and this is down to a number of key factors.

"Record numbers of tenants are looking for property, there have also been a number of new-build developments which tend to attract higher rents, and Chelmsford is benefitting from being a city, since it won that status in 2012.

"This has led to record investment and major improvements to the town centre."

Owen Newton, from Haart in Chelmsford, said there was a definite spike in the rental market and there was an average of 20 people looking at each available home.

He said: "Chelmsford is more in demand than a lot of towns in Essex.

"It's a popular place to live because of the university, the night life and the train links to London. For every rental property we have, there are 20 people looking at it.

"Landlords are becoming wiser with what they can get for their rent prices, so they come in with a higher price."