Record demand for rental homes as supply dries up.

Record demand for rental homes as supply dries up.

12:26 PM, 12th November 2010, About 14 years ago

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The mortgage squeeze is a double-edged sword for buy to let landlords as rentals surge but borrowing restrictions mean they cannot buy more homes to rent out.

About 700 potential tenants signed up every day with Countrywide, one of the UK’s largest rental networks with 1,300 offices, last quarter ending September 30.

A record 61,000 people have asked the agents to find them somewhere to privately rent across the three months – up 19% on the second quarter and a record number of applicants for Countrywide.

The number of properties available for rent has fallen drastically – down 27% year-on-year and down 7% from the previous quarter. This is affected by the lack of mortgage funding in the sector as many landlords would like to buy more properties but cannot raise the finance.

John Hards, co-managing director of Countrywide Residential Lettings, said: “Record levels of demand are seeing the number of available properties reaching critical levels with many properties having lets agreed before the previous tenants’ contract has ended.

“With demand at an all time high, now is exactly the right time for private home owners to consider renting their property if they are unable to sell but still want to move.”

Six tenants vying for each rental property

The firm reports an average 5.8 tenants are in a queue for each letting property.

The most popular property to rent are two-bedroom houses, with an average of 10.2 tenants after each property. Flats total the greatest percentage of stock on letting agents’ books.

Countrywide claim they now rent a property on average within 13 days of coming on the market, seven days quicker than the beginning of the year.

Couples under 35 made up the highest percentage of new tenant applications.

Mr Hards said: “The private rental sector is the only viable option for a growing number of people and this issue will only intensify, especially in the wake of the government’s cuts to the social housing budget.

“The government must do more to incentivise cash investors and help private landlords in need of buy to let mortgage funding as rental supply is a growing national concern.”

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