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The level of available rental stock rose in March according to the latest Private Rented Sector (PRS) Report from ARLA Propertymark.
Rental stock was up to 203 properties per member branch in March, from 197 in February – the highest since records began in 2015.
The year-on-year increase in rental stock is even more dramatic, up by 13 per cent, compared to 179 per branch in March 2018.
However, demand from prospective tenants also increased to help counter the rise in rental stock, with the number of house hunters registered per branch rising to 67 on average, compared to 65 in February.
Rents were relatively stable in March, with the number of tenants experiencing rent rises fell marginally in March, with 30 per cent of agents witnessing landlords increasing them, compared to 34 per cent in February.
However, this showed a strong increase year-on-year, up 30 per cent from the 23 per cent of agents reporting rent rises in March 2018.
The number of buy to let investors selling properties remained stable from February at four per branch, although that also shows an increase year-on-year from three per branch in March 2018.
ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, David Cox, commented: ‘Whilst its really positive that the number of properties available per branch hit a record high last month, this may be the first signs of the industry consolidating ahead of the tenant fees ban as agents either sell-up or merge. This, coupled with landlords exiting the market and rent costs continuing to rise, means the overall picture is far from positive for renters.
‘The full effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the Government is introducing yet more new legislation which will deter new landlords from entering the market, such as abolishing Section 21. Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned, this news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing, meaning rents will only continue to rise for tenants.’