Demand for rental accommodation reaches record high

According to the latest report by ARLA Propertymark – the Private Rented Sector Report, January 2020, more tenants than ever are seeking housing as rental stock is becoming scarcer.

Before we get into the details of the report, for those who don’t know, it’s worth noting for who ARLA Propertymark is and what they do.

ARLA Propertymark is the UK’s foremost professional and regulatory body for letting agents, representing over 9,000 members. ARLA’s members operate to professional standards higher than the law demands, and they campaign for greater regulation the letting sector of the property market. ARLA protects consumers holding members accountable and empowering customers with knowledge and advice.

ARLA is sub-divided into branches, from which the following research was collected.

The key findings are that in January 2019

  • Demand for rental accommodation reached a record high, with an average of 88 prospective tenants registered per member branch
  • However, supply of rental stock fell to the lowest level seen in seven months
  • The number of agents witnessing rents increase also rose to 42 per cent

The rise means that agents have witnessed a 57 per cent increase in the number of prospective tenants registered since December. Year on year, tenant rental demand for private accommodation has increased 21% – rising from 73 in January 2019 to 88 last month.

The North West, Yorkshire, the South East and Wales were the regions seeing the most demand among renters.

In terms of supply, the number of properties managed per branch fell from 206 in December to 191 in January, a figure that hasn’t been this low since July 2019 year when it stood at 184. Year-on-year supply is down from 197 in January 2019, but up from 184 in January 2018.

One particular factor which is seen to be affecting supply is the growing popularity of short term lets.

ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, David Cox says,

“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.

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.”

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