The number of landlords has fallen over the last two years despite a rise in supply of homes available to rent, meaning the typical buy to let investor now has a larger portfolio than ever before.
Data from Countrywide estimates that the number of landlords peaked at 3.72m in 2015 when there were some 171,000 fewer rented homes than today.
In 2017 there are just over 154,000 fewer landlords (3.56m in total) but the number of rented homes has increased from 4.9m in 2015 to 5.1m today.
Today fewer landlords and more rental properties means the size of the average landlord’s portfolio is the biggest since Countrywide first recorded such information in 2005.
The average landlord owned 1.44 rented homes in 2017, up from 1.33 in 2015 and well above the low of 1.24 back in 2010.
In 2017, 73 per cent of landlords owned one buy to let property, down from 86 per cent in 2010, while the number of landlords owning 10 or more homes has risen by a third in the last decade.
“The increasing number of rented homes is being driven by landlords expanding their portfolios rather than new landlords entering the market. Increasing regulation in the sector accompanied by recent changes to income tax relief on mortgage interest payments seem to be favouring more experienced, professional landlords” explains Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.
But he says that despite expanding portfolio sizes the sector is still characterised by those owning just one or two homes - 73 per cent of landlords own one home.
In 2017 landlords based in the North East are likely to own the most rental properties (1.54) followed by landlords based in Yorkshire and the Humber (1.52) and London (1.51).
London-based landlords are more than twice as likely to have a portfolio of 10 or more homes compared to landlords in any other region.