Renters in Richmond have seen the biggest increase in the cost of living in London in the past year, according to a recent study.

The borough also attracts the best and the brightest, as well as a large number of people from the UK.

Latest research by showed average rents for properties in Richmond rose from £265 a week in 2012 to £323 this year, an increase of 22 per cent.

Director of the research David Butler said the Richmond results were surprising in the sense that it is an outer London borough, but not in terms of the area itself.

He said: “Generally speaking, it is the inner London boroughs that increase the most over the year.”

Average gross annual earnings in Richmond are just over £41,000, making it the third highest-earning area in London and the UK.

Kew, Barnes and Sheen have some of the highest proportion of residents with a degree in London. Mr Butler said: “Richmond is an incredibly attractive area for people to live.

“Our analysis shows that it attracts the best and the brightest in terms of qualifications and income levels.

“It also tends to attract a lot of UK residents.”

The study looked at 33 local authorities in London and used the latest data available from the Valuation Office Agency during the first quarter of each year.

The next biggest rise in rents over the period was Tower Hamlets due to the good transport links and Olympic Park.

A Richmond lettings agency said it had seen rents rise at the beginning of the year due to a shortage of stock and high number of people selling their properties.

The company director said: “It is quite a high per centage for such a short space of time, you would normally expect about a 5 per cent increase over that period.

“This is a very desirable area and has a bit of status – people seem to think.

“The fact that you can get on a train and go straight to London really helps.

“There are certainly areas where you see a lot of rental properties.

“Church Road is a very good road – it is a short walk to the station and there are so many properties that become available for rental there.”