The supply of rental housing stock on letting agents’ books fell sharply in March, to the lowest level since the start of last year according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
Demand also dropped in March; ARLA agents had 33 prospective tenants registered per branch on average, down 11 per cent from 37 in February. This stands below the figure recorded in March last year when agents registered 36 on average.
Supply has also fallen year on year. In March 2015, the average number of properties managed per branch was 192, which is down 12 per cent this year with just 169 rental properties managed per branch- the lowest level since records began in January 2015.
It’s a brighter picture in Scotland, where agents had on average 273 properties on their books, and Yorkshire and Humberside, where 207 properties were recorded on average per branch. In London however, agents had just 122 properties on their books per branch.
In March, some 65 per cent of ARLA agents predicted that current and prospective buy to let landlords will walk away from the market following the April stamp duty changes, causing a decrease in the supply of rental properties.
Rent costs rose in March for a third of tenants and three in five ARLA members fear they will increase further as a result of the changes.
“We don’t expect falling supply to stop here – the recent stamp duty changes are very likely to cause supply to decrease even further, as landlords withdraw from the market” says David Cox, the association’s managing director.