11:25 AM, 1st April 2011, About 10 years ago
Thousands of home hunters are besieging letting agents to snap up buy to lets as the mortgage famine bites and stops them buying their own homes.
Sequence Lettings, part of Skipton Building Society property firm Connells, has seen a 37% increase in the number of prospective tenants signing up to view homes.
This follows rival letting firm Countrywide revealing around 20,000 new home hunters a month have registered with them over the past year.
LSL Property Services, owner of major letting agent brands Your Move and Reeds Rains has also reported rents are pegged at an average £684 a month with no sign of a let up in demand for private rented homes.
Sequence says demand is highest outside London and the Home Counties – with the north up 22% and midlands up 31%.
The number of new tenants seeking a home has risen 8% since February 2010.
Stephen Nation, of Sequence Lettings, said: “With the number of UK households increasing and continued uncertainty over jobs and the economy, we have seen a trend of people renting for longer”.
The outlook for borrowing to buy a home is grim, with the Council of Mortgage Lenders forecasting that banks and building societies will not relax their grip on lending this year.
Land Registry figures show house sales have tumbled in recent years to fuel the buy to let boom.
Property sales in England and Wales slumped by 47% between 2007 and 2010, from 1,222,400 sales to just under 650,000.
Sales in Burnley collapsed by 68%. The town was recently identified by property portal Zoopla as the place with the cheapest street in England and Wales. Last year, a terraced house changed hands for just £26,500 in Angle Street – and average home prices there are less than £40,000.
Notably, the top 10 towns with the largest falls in house sales are in the north or midlands, while most in the top 10 with the largest rises are in London and south, except Blyth and Chorley.
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