Rental market in the UK slowing as homes to rent fall to 12 month low

The private rental market in the UK is slowing signs of slowing with the number of properties letting agents managed per branch falling to a 12 month low in October.

On average each branch had 182 properties available to rent, down from 189 in September and the lowest since October 2016 when agents manged 180 on average.

Supply also dipped in October, from 79 prospective tenants registered per branch in September to 69, according to the latest monthly report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

There is good news for tenants with the number experiencing rent increases down to the lowest level since December 2016 with 22% of agents witnessed landlords hiking rent costs compared to 27% in September and a high of 35% in August.

In line with this, the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions increased marginally from 2.4% in September to 2.5% in October. This figure also hit an extreme in August, bottoming out at 2%, the lowest seen since May 2016.

‘While this time of year is one of the busiest for people buying and selling properties, it’s typically slower for the rental market. A large number of tenancies are agreed over the summer, meaning both supply and demand are usually lower in the Autumn,’ said David Cox, ARLA chief executive.

‘However, a lot are also agreed in the New Year and if stock remains low, competition for properties among prospective tenants will increase, which will in turn push rents up, so we must see an increase in supply over the next two months,’ he explained.

‘With that in mind, it’s good news that the recent spate of rent increases we’ve seen seems to have slowed, but 22% is still high. The cost of living continues to rise and for many, the dream of home ownership is too far out of reach,’ he pointed out.

‘Last week’s news that stamp duty is cut for first time buyers will mean consumers feel more positive and will hopefully go some way towards helping more people get onto the housing ladder. But if rent costs continue to rise, it will forever be an unreachable aspiration for many,’ he added.

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