Buy-to-let remains buoyant

The number of private tenants seeking property reaches a five-year high.

The level of tenants seeking to rent property privately has hit a five-year high across the UK, letting agents say.

Up to 37% of agents are reporting rental property shortages nationwide, partly because people are les willing to buy, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla).

Arla adds that aside from a weakening of the housing market, the rise in demand is also caused by an increase in immigration and more people living alone. The figures are based on a survey of Arla members.

Ian Potter, head of operations at Arla, says: "This peak demand should come as no surprise. Softening in the sales market is always a driver of further demand in the rental market."

The shortage of rental properties is particularly acute in the south-east of England, while central London has seen demand surge, Mr Potter says.

In the south-east of England, 57% of letting agents are seeing demand outstrip supply, according to the trade body’s quarterly report. Central London has seen a 13-fold increase in demand for rental property over the past five years.

At the same time, tenants are choosing to rent for "well over a year", Arla says in its survey, based on responses from 517 letting offices across the UK.

Meanwhile, property is remaining empty for "well under a month", down from an earlier average of nearly five weeks.

Disclaimer: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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