City suburbs, commuter towns and coastal locations have recorded the biggest rises in rent for tenants in the last year, according to Rightmove.
The property portal said that towns such as Rochdale, Folkestone and Farnham have seen asking rents jump by more than 25%.
As Covid restrictions started to ease, there was greater demand from people looking to live back in the city.
This was being reflected in rents, the Rightmove survey showed.
Asking rents have gone up by 6.8% in Nottingham city centre compared with a year ago, and by 3.8% in Liverpool.
However, rents in London and Edinburgh were still lower than they were last year, down by 6.8% and 4% respectively.
The type of property in demand from tenants has mirrored that of homebuyers in many ways during the pandemic.
Both have been looking for indoor and outdoor space, with room to work from home as well as a garden to enjoy during lockdown.
That has led to greater demand in more rural or coastal areas, where there were already fewer homes available to rent. The result has been higher rent for new tenants in these areas.
Some tenants have taken the opportunity to move to city centres which previously may have been unaffordable, while demand has been lower.
Rightmove’s quarterly survey of rental prices found that the tide was turning. Eight out of 10 of some of the biggest city centres were now seeing higher rents than in June last year, it said.
National asking rents outside London had risen to an average of more than £1,000 per calendar month for the first time, according to its figures.
Asking rents were 2.6% higher in April to June compared with the first three months of the year, and 6.2% higher than this time last year.
Tenants were snapping up properties faster now, with letting agents taking an average of 21 days to find a tenant for a home, it said.
“We are seeing signs of the city centre comeback. As businesses settle into a more structured balance between home and office time, we expect this to continue for the rest of the year,” said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data.
He said the rush of people who moved back in with family last year were now thinking of their potential commute and making plans to rent again. He said there were signs on London rents creeping up again, but they remained lower than two years ago.