Supply and demand of rental property dipped in December, according to the December Private Rental Sector (PRS) report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
ARLA agents registered an average of 29 prospective new tenants last month, down from 34 in November; a decrease of 15%. This seasonal lull has meant that supply of properties has also marginally decreased, with an average of 182 properties managed per branch, down from 189 in November.
Tenants looking for rental property in the capital are continuing to struggle, with an average of 108 properties per branch; 43% less than the national average.
There is encouraging news for tenants though, as the number of tenants witnessing rent hikes decreased across December, with only 18% of letting agents recording an increase in rent.
Impending buy-to-let changes are also set to impact the market. The lack of rent growth could come to an end once the stamp duty reforms come into play on April 1st; with 62% of agents predicting that changes will push up rent costs, and 65% predicting that the new reforms would push out buy-to-let investors post-reform.
However, the period between now and April looks set to be a busy one for prospective investors, with 24% of agents seeing an uplift in interest from buy-to-let investors.
David Cox, ARLA managing director, commented: “With supply, demand and the number of agents reporting rent increases all declining in December, this could well be the calm before the buy-to-let storm. Buy-to-let landlords determined to complete purchases before the changes come into force in April are storming the Uk housing market, meaning the lull we’d usually see is less significant.”