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Buy to let rents have dropped slightly for the second month running as landlords offered more homes to let.
The average rent in England and Wales wavered down by an almost imperceptible 0.3% to £682 a month, but is still 4% higher year-on-year.
Rents often slip back in December and January with fewer people looking to move home in the holiday season or winter months – and this seasonal fluctuation often sees landlords dropping rents to avoid homes standing empty for long periods.
January also saw more homes for rent hitting the market, with the increase in supply knocking rents back in some areas.
David Newnes, estate agency managing director of LSL Property Services, said: “The recent loosening in the buy-to-let mortgage market has boosted the supply of rental homes on the market, a crucial factor in the temporary drop in rents.
“With more products coming onto the market, there are signs that this trend is continuing into 2011, allowing a growing number of professional landlords to get onto the market, or broaden their portfolios, and take advantage of near-record rental income and strong tenant demand.
“International investors, too, have played their part, looking to place their cash in UK bricks and mortar while yields look attractive and properties are affordable.”
LSL Property Services, one of the UK’s largest chains of letting agents, compiles the monthly buy to let rents survey.
The fall in rents was not reflected in every region – while the average rent slightly fell, tenants had to pay more in London (+0.2%) the East Midlands (+0.9%), the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber(+0.8%).
Places where average rents fell the most were East England (-2.5%), Wales (-2.1%)and the North West (-1.0%).
Rent arrears improved, with 11% of tenants failing to pay compared with 11.7% in December. An estimated £258 million of rent is owed to landlords just for January.
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