Agents have reported that more landlords are exiting buy to let in March, possibly due to the tax relief changes introduced by the government.
Landlords exiting buy to let has increased from an average of three in February, to four in March, according to data released by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
ARLA Propertymark confirmed that this is the first time the number of landlords exiting buy to let has risen above three per branch since November 2016 when the letting fees ban was first announced.
Rent price reductions also saw a rise among ARLA registered agents from 2.2 per cent in February to 3.6 per cent in March. However, 25 per cent of agents reported landlords increasing rents in March, a figure that has remained consistent since January.
The average number of properties managed per ARLA member branch stayed constant from the February figure at 183 per branch, though this is up on a year-on-year basis from the March 2016 figure of 169, showing an increase of 8 per cent.
Tenant demand was also seen to be slightly up, with 36 prospective tenants registered per ARLA member branch, compared to 34 per branch in February.
ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, David Cox, commented: ‘It’s concerning that, despite supply increasing over last year, stock failed to return to the market after dipping in February. When we also consider that this is coupled with a rise in the number of landlords selling their BTL properties, this is bad news for those searching for a rental property.
‘Following the announcement of the ban on letting agent fees, we expect the situation to only get worse for tenants when inevitably the costs are passed onto tenants through higher rents. However, it’s positive that more tenants are taking action and negotiating rent reductions before the consultation ends and they see their rents increase.’
Despite a noted increase in landlords exiting buy to let, it seems that the rental demand is still there for the buy to let industry and rental property supply is still required.