Demand for rental properties in January increased to the highest level on record with 88 prospective tenants registered per lettings agency branch compared to 56 the previous month.
Data from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents shows that agents have witnessed a 57 per cent increase in the number of prospective tenants registered, just since December.
Year-on-year that means demand for rental accommodation has increased by over a fifth from 73 per branch in January 2019 to 88 last month.
However, the number of properties managed per branch fell from 206 in December to 191 in January, and ARLA warns that supply has not been this low since July last year when it stood at 184.
Year-on-year supply is down from 197 in January 2019, but up from 184 in January 2018.
Meanwhile the association says the number of tenants experiencing rent increases rose in January, with 42 per cent of agents witnessing landlords increasing them, compared to 32 per cent in December last year.
Year-on-year, this figure is up from 26 per cent in January 2019 and 19 per cent in January 2018.
ARLA president David Cox describes the figures as “a huge blow for tenants” adding that with demand increasing by more than half, but rental supply falling, rent costs are unsurprisingly being pushed up.
“Our recent research found that tenants could miss out on nearly half a million properties as more landlords exit the traditional private rented sector and turn towards short-term lets which will only serve to worsen the problem for those seeking longer term rental accommodation” he says.
“With the Spring Budget around the corner, it’s important that the government works to make the private rented sector attractive to landlords again, rather than introducing complex legislation which ultimately squeezes the sector and leaves tenants worse off.”