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Rent costs rise as landlords continue exiting the market

The number of landlords exiting the market rose in February, while the number of tenants seeing rent rises increased to the highest figure since August 2018.

ARLA Propertymark's Private Rented Sector Report found that 34% of agents witnessed landlords increasing rents in February, compared to 26% in January.

This is the highest figure recorded since August, when 40% of tenants saw their rents increase – the highest on record.

Year-on-year, this figure is up 14% from 20% in February 2018.

In line with this, the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions fell to 2.3%, from 2.5% in January.

Even though rents are increasing, the number of landlords exiting the market rose to four per branch in February, after falling to three in January. This is also up from three in February 2018.

Demand from prospective tenants also fell in February, with the number of house-hunters registered per branch falling to 65 on average, compared to 73 the month before.

However, the number of properties managed per branch remained at 197 in February, with no new properties coming onto the market.

“According to data from the Office for National Statistics, private rent costs rose by 1% in the year to February, and our data shows that the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions fell,” David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, explained.

“We warned this would happen, as landlords continue exiting the market and increasing legislation deters new ones from entering.”

Cox said that while the Chancellor’s Spring Statement included a number of initiatives aimed at growing housing stock for buyers, it didn’t offer any solutions to increase the supply of properties in the private rented sector.

“Unless the Government commits to making the prospect of investing in the PRS more attractive, and introduces measures to increase supply, tenants will only continue to feel the burn,” he concluded.

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    If the number of private landlords is dwindling, they must be selling their properties to owner-occupiers, in which case, all other factors being equal, the supply/demand balance of landlords and tenants should remain unchanged?

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