Lettings agency Hamptons says there’s been “an unprecedented fall” in the number of rental homes on the market, leading to double-digit rent rises in the past year.
There were 45 per cent fewer homes available to let in April 2021 than in April 2019, with half of regions across Britain recording falls of 50 per cent or more.
The South West topped the stock shortage league with 62 per cent fewer homes to rent than at the same time in 2019.
London recorded the smallest fall of 20 per cent, while rental stock in cities generally was down 24 per cent over the same period.
Unsurprisingly, Hamptons says this is triggering sharp rent rises because demand so heavily outstrips supply.
Rents across Great Britain rents rose 5.9 per cent annually in April, the fastest rate since January 2015.
Growth remains driven by regions beyond London, with rents outside the capital up a huge 10.4 per cent on this time in 2020.
This is the first time since Hamptons’ index began in 2012 that average growth rates outside of London have hit double digits, partly driven by the drop in rents in April 2020 - they down 2.2 per cent this time last year.
Taking that fall into account, over the last 24 months rents are up 8.0 per cent outside London.
As with stock shortage, the South West saw faster rental growth than anywhere else in the country, with prices up 11.3 per cent on the same time last year. Rental growth in the South East also surpassed 10.0 per cent.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, says: “The longer-term impact of fewer rental homes is driving rental growth now, with rents rising six times faster than inflation.
“Tenants face half the choice they had two years ago and each new instruction has brought a deluge of enquiries within hours of homes going onto the market.
“While the current stamp duty holiday has boosted investor purchases a little, we are yet to see these flow into new instructions and improve choice for tenants.”