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TWO new reports reveal weakening supply of rented property

to let board

The number of landlords instructing agents to rent properties has declined for a second quarter in a row, fuelling ongoing worries that the Government’s ‘anti-buy-to-let’ mood music is disrupting the market, two new reports highlight.

Some 500 agents told the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) latest housing snapshot that, while tenant demand continues to rise for rented accommodation, fewer landlords were listing properties to rent for a second consecutive quarter.

This, RICS predicts, means the imbalance between supply and demand is expected to drive rental prices higher over the coming months.

Its research also shows that demand for rented properties across the UK has been on the increase since late 2017 but ramped up following the end of Covid restrictions and the Liz Truss-inspired rise in mortgage interest rates, which has made getting on the property ladder more difficult for many renters.

The decrease in the number of landlord instructions has been gathering pace since the 2007/8 global financial crisis but has been accelerating over the past two years.

The latest RICS report follows new data from Uswitch, which shows that a third of landlords it canvassed are planning to sell a property within the next 12 months.

Its data also reveals that higher mortgage rates last year significantly reduced the level of buy-to-let borrowing by landlords for new purchases as many investors delayed their plans until rates reduce.

Higher mortgage rates are also putting pushing some landlords into financial dire straits and, although just 500 rental properties were repossessed during the final months of 2023, that’s 11% higher than the previous quarter.

James Farrance (pictured), a letting agent at South East firm Braxtons says: “We’ve seen increased numbers of private landlords selling up mainly due to S24 [the recent withdrawal of mortgage interest tax relief] causing cashflow problems on their investments.

“This in turn is causing a reduction in the number of houses to let.”

Paul Lucas of Welsh firm RK Lucas & Son, adds: “The lettings market remains volatile with many landlords seriously considering exiting the market owing to the recent Government’s regulation and taxation changes.”


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