There are now five per cent fewer homes to let now than two years ago, says Countrywide in its rebranded Hamptons International rental index.
Previously the monthly index was titled from Countrywide as a whole and featured analysis and comment from Johnny Morris, the group’s head of research who revealed - through Estate Agent Today last month - that he was leaving the organisation.
This month’s index reveals that rents in the north of England have fallen for the first time in four years while rental growth in the south has accelerated.
In detail it says that average rents in the North fell 0.3 per cent in April compared with the same month last year - that’s the first year-on-year fall since June 2014.
Meanwhile rental growth accelerated in the South to 2.2% in April, spurred on by increases in London (2.2 per cent) and the East (3.6 per cent).
This means that average rents in the South are now £1,372 pcm, some 2.2 times more than the average rent in the North (£622 pcm).
The average cost of a new let reached £953 pcm across Great Britain as a whole.
The index also reveals that since April 2016 - when the stamp duty surcharge for additional properties was introduced - the number of homes available to rent has fallen in the South, but stock levels have been more resilient in the North.
Last month there were 19 per cent more available homes to rent in the North than in April 2016, compared with 16 per cent fewer homes available to rent in the South.
Since April 2016 landlords have sold 82,000 more homes than they bought in the South, compared to 24,000 net sales in the North. As a result, in April 2018 there were five per cent fewer homes available to rent across Great Britain than in April 2016.
“Low stock in the South continue to drive rental growth as tenants compete for fewer homes. Since April 2016 landlords across Great Britain have sold 88,000 more homes than they bought. But landlords are finding new ways to maximise returns by purchasing properties elsewhere, particularly further North in search of lower stamp duty bills and higher yields” says Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International.