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Rental supply falls in April as letting agents predict prices rises

The supply of rental properties fell by 5% during April when compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

ARLA's latest Private Rental Sector Report shows that the average letting agency branch managed 183 properties in April, down from 193 in the same month last year. 

However, the number of properties managed by the average agent in April was the highest figure recorded so far this year, up 8% from March's total.

The increase between March and April has been attributed to the introduction of the 3% stamp duty surcharge, which encouraged a purchasing rush from landlords and investors in the run-up to April 1.

Demand for rental homes has remained relatively steady. The average agency branch had 34 prospective tenants on its books in April, a slight dip from the 36 recorded in April 2015.

Some 66% of letting agents surveyed by ARLA predict that tenants' rental costs will increase as a result of the increased stamp duty on the purchase of buy-to-let properties.

Agents also suggested an increase in the number of landlords selling properties during April. 

Survey participants reported an average of four landlords selling a property during the month, up from 3 in March – the first monthly rise recorded for a year.   

"We expect that fewer investors will be taking on buy-to-let properties over the next six months, following the price hikes, meaning that once these properties are filled we’ll see supply nose-dive once again,” says David Cox, ARLA's managing director.

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