The lettings market started 2018 on the back foot, according to the latest Private Rented Sector Report from ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents).
In January, the number of properties managed by letting agents dropped by 8%, with an average of 184 recorded per branch, compared to 200 in December 2017.
The last time that supply sat at a level this low was in October 2017, when it stood at 182.
The gap between supply and demand widened in January, with more prospective tenants coming onto the lettings market.
On average, letting agents registered 70 potential tenants per branch in January, compared with just 59 in the previous month.
Landlords kicked off 2018 with contract negotiations, as one in five (19%) tenants experienced rent price increases in January, compared to 16% in December.
While this paints a bleak picture for tenants looking into 2018, it’s actually down on an annual basis. In January last year, 23% of tenants saw their rent prices rise, while 30% were subject to increases in January 2016.
David Cox, the Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, comments on the report: “This month’s results indicate that renters are in for a rough ride in 2018. Housing stock is falling, as rising taxes continue to force established landlords out of the market and deter entry into the sector – and the volume of renters is increasing, as the cost of buying a home is moving further out of reach for many.
“The fact that one in five tenants are experiencing rent increases is just another blow. Ultimately, until the prospect of investing in the buy-to-let market is more attractive for prospective landlords, and stock subsequently increases, tenants will continue to feel the burn.”
Landlords, did you put your rent prices up at the start of this year?