Rents are tumbling on some city centre flats as buy-to-let investors pay the price for oversupply. Financial Times

The fate of some metropolitan investors stands in stark contrast to the fortunes of others, who have seen rental income grow as they cash in on the plight of first-time buyers unable to secure a mortgage.

Rents have increased by an average of around 4% across the UK over the past year, according to the housing market data provider Hometrack. Central London and the Docklands area have recorded particulary large rises.

Rents have retreated in Liverpool and Nottingham, however, where some of the most aggressive residential development has taken place.

Rents have dropped by around 2% on average in these cities, when comparing levels in the first quarters of 2007 and 2008. Rents were static in Newcastle, which has also seen extensive new building development in recent years.

'The rental market in these cities was never large enough to soak up the extent of the building,' said Richard Donnell, head of research at Hometrack.