The UK lettings market slowed in February, reports Agency Express’ Property Activity Index.
The number of new rental properties coming onto the market dropped in February, by 13.8%, marking the largest monthly decrease for the month since records began in 2012.
February’s figures appear consistent with recent reports from Paul Smee, the Director General of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, who comments: “Buy-to-let house purchase activity continues to be weak, despite strong buy-to-let remortgage levels.
“This will likely remain so going forward, as lenders tighten affordability criteria ahead of the Prudential Regulation Authority mandated stress tests and the introduction of tax changes in April.”
In contrast, the number of properties rented out in the lettings market rose by 3.4% in February. However, looking back over Agency Express’ historical data, records show that figures in previous years were more robust, up by 4.5% in 2016 and 5.5% in 2015.
Looking at lettings market performance across the UK, only two of the 12 regions included in the Property Activity Index reported increases in new listings to let, while five saw growth in the number of properties let.
February’s top performing regions were:
Properties to let
- East Midlands: +10.0%
- West Midlands: +3.00%
- South East: +40.2%
- West Midlands: +7.6%
- Scotland: +6.3%
Following on from a strong market in January, the West Midlands maintained momentum in February, and was the only region to record increases in both new listings and properties let.
Buoyant figures were also recorded in the East Midlands. After a slow start to the year, the region saw a rise in new listings on the lettings market, marking the region’s largest increase for February since 2014.
The greatest decline in February was recorded in East Anglia. The number of new listings dropped by 25.5% – the largest monthly decrease for February since 2012.
The Managing Director of Agency Express, Stephen Watson, comments: “The Property Activity Index historically shows us a drop in figures throughout February. However, this month, we have seen a greater fall than in years previous – an impact of the buy-to-let changes, which will undoubtedly affect the market ongoing.”
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