There were 26 prospective tenants registered at each member branch of the Association of Residential Letting Agents - the lowest level since January 2015.
This is down 19 per cent from the 32 registered per branch in November last year.
However, ARLA says this is in line with seasonal expectations. In December 2015, there were 29 prospective tenants registered per branch, a figure which dropped by 15 per cent from November 2015.
The number of rental properties managed per branch increased from 185 in November last year to 188 in December. While supply is still very low, this indicates a broadly positive picture for renters in the short-term according to ARLA.
Following last year’s increases in taxes and stamp duty for landlords, some 46 per cent of agents expect to see supply decrease this year.
Meanwhile the number of letting agents witnessing rent hikes for tenants increased by three per cent in December, to 19 per cent.
“Although December’s figures could indicate a bright future for renters, with the government’s impending ban on letting agent fees, the future is actually rather bleak” claims David Cox, ARLA managing director.
“Although we saw demand fall and supply rise slightly last month, these are in line with seasonal expectations and is what we expect to see in December. If the government goes ahead with an outright ban on fees, tenants will unfortunately be the ultimate victims, as costs are recouped for the vital services fees cover” he adds.