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‘A bleak outlook for renters in 2018’ says trade body

The supply of rental properties fell by 8% from December to January, painting a bleak picture for renters this year, according to a recent report from ARLA Propertymark.

ARLA’s private rented sector (PRS) January report found the number of properties letting agent’s managed fell by 8% in January, with a supply of 184 properties per branch compared to 200 in December 2017. This was almost as low as in October 2017, when it stood at 182.

However, this has not deterred interest from would-be renters. The report revealed that with more prospective renters coming into the market, the gap between supply and demand widened in January. On average, letting agents registered 70 prospective tenants per branch in January, compared to just 59 in December.

“This month’s results indicate that renters are in for a rough ride in 2018,” said David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark. “Housing stock is falling as rising taxes continue to force established landlords out of the market and deter entry into the sector – and the volume of renters is increasing as the cost of buying a home is moving further out of reach for many.”

In terms of rent prices, landlords kicked off the year with contract negotiations as 19% of tenants experienced rent hikes in January, compared to 16% in December. What’s more, 23% of tenants saw their rents increase in January 2017, while 30% were subject to rent rises in January 2016.

Cox added: “The fact that one in five tenants are experiencing rent increases is just another blow. Ultimately, until the prospect of investing in the buy-to-let market is more attractive for prospective landlords, and stock subsequently increases, tenants will continue to feel the burn.”

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