The average number of properties managed by letting agents rose from 192 in November to 200 in December – the highest since the Association of Residential Letting Agents started keeping records in January 2015.
This is six per cent higher than the same month a year earlier when agents managed 188 properties on average per branch.
Meanwhile the percentage of tenants experiencing rent increases remained at 16 per cent in December – the same amount as November.
In line with this, the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions decreased from 3.0 per cent in November to 2.6 per cent in December, indicating a seasonal slowdown in the number of contract negotiations.
Demand for rental properties increased marginally in December, from 58 prospective tenants registered per branch in November, to 59 last month.
“London is officially the most expensive city to rent a property in Europe. ... This could be due to the fact letting agents in the capital are only managing an average of 130 properties – 35 per cent lower than the national average and the lowest level in the country” says David Cox, ARLA Propertymark’s chief executive.
“We need to tackle housing stock to reverse this and stop seeing rents increasing for tenants. The cost of living is already rising at an unsustainable rate and with the added pressures of rising rent costs, the dream of homeownership falls out of reach for many, even with the government cutting stamp duty for first time buyers” he adds.
“However, it’s positive that we finished the year with the number of properties available for tenants at a record high. Here’s to a positive year for renters; cheaper rents, good living standards and a rental market which works for everyone.”