16:49 PM, 10th February 2012, About 12 years ago 1
About 500,000 new tenants have registered to rent buy to let homes over the past two years with just one network of national letting agents.
Over 275,000 signed up in 2011 – an increase of 53,000 (24%) over the 222,000 who were desperately seeking to rent a home in 2010.
The figures come from Countrywide, which has 300 offices branded with some of the industry’s biggest names, like Hamptons, Bridgfords, Taylors, Dixons and Fulfords.
The firm revealed 80,000 registered in the three months ending September 30 last year with August 2011 peaking at the highest level of enquiries since the firm started keeping records.
Most new tenant activity was in London, with a 35% increase in applications last year.
Demand is so strong that many properties are let before they are advertised, while the average voids – the time between lets – is just 13.6 days.
Commercial director Nick Dunning said; “We are in the midst of a rental boom as renting has become the new norm.
“Despite gradual improvements in property levels, it is not enough to satisfy the ever-increasing levels of demand.
“With a record number of tenants entering the private rental sector, there is a vast shortage of properties available in all areas of UK, which could potentially fuel a steady rise in rent prices throughout 2012.”
Countrywide also reports better availability of competitively priced buy-to-let mortgages since June last year.
Financial services director Nigel Stockton said; “While buy-to-let lending has grown, it is still only at 30% of the total lending that were seeing at the peak of the market.
“In November’s housing strategy, the government announced some measures to tackle the problem of empty homes. With over 720,000 empty properties in the UK, we welcome any government support to encourage investment and the transfer of these properties to the buy-to-let sector to alleviate the current supply and demand imbalance.”