Countrywide has calculated that with many landlords exiting the buy to let market, the number of homes available to rent has dropped, particularly in London and the South.
There were 7.8 per cent fewer properties available to rent in the first 11 months of 2019 compared with the same period last year.
In the South of England however, where more landlords have sold up, there were 11.7 per cent fewer homes available to rent. Countrywide - in an analysis revealed through its up-market brand Hamptons International - says there are signs that investors are starting to return to the market, particularly in London.
During the first 11 months of the year, landlords bought 11 per cent of the homes sold in Great Britain - the same level as last year, but some five per cent lower than in 2015.
In November alone, the proportion of homes bought by investors increased to 12 per cent.
London recorded a bigger rise: landlords purchased 13 per cent of homes sold in the capital during the first 11 months of 2019, up from 11 per cent during the same period of 2018.
Hamptons says this was the first rise since 2015, but is in part due to fewer owner-occupiers transacting in the market.