The number of landlords in the UK has declined somewhat, despite a rise in housing supply and in existing landlords adding to their portfolios.
The fall in landlord numbers comes at the same time as rents have began to rise, up 1.6 per cent year on year, according to the latest monthly lettings index from Countrywide. Greater London is now seeing growth for the second consecutive month.
According to Countrywide’s data, the number of landlords peaked in 2015, at 3.72 million. At this point rental housing supply was far lower, with 171,000 fewer rental homes available than today. In 2017 there are just over 154,000 fewer landlords, with figures at 3.56 million in total. However, the number of rental properties has risen to 5.1 million today up from 4.9 million in 2015.
The disparity between landlord numbers and rental properties suggests that the size of the average landlord’s portfolio is the biggest since Countrywide’s records began in 2005. In 2017, the average landlord owned 1.44 rented homes, whilst in in 2015 this was lower at 1.33. The number of landlords who own 10 or more homes in their portfolio has risen by 33 per cent in the last decade.
Research director at Countrywide Johnny Morris, said: ‘The increasing number of rented homes is being driven by landlords expanding their portfolios rather than new landlords entering the market. Increasing regulation in the sector accompanied by recent changes to income tax relief on mortgage interest payments seem to be favouring more experienced, professional landlords. Despite expanding portfolio sizes the sector is still characterised by those owning just one or two homes, 73 per cent of landlords own one home.’
He continued: ‘Rents rose in all regions across Great Britain to stand 1.6 per cent up on the same time last year. The number of landlord purchases continues to remain low which is feeding through into fewer homes on the rental market. Rents in London rose for the second consecutive month, driven by a pickup in rents in outer London.’