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UK rental property demand keeps rising, new report shows

Many people have continued to turn to the lettings sector and as a result of this, rents continued to increase, although the survey indicates that the pace of growth moderated slightly.

Some 34% more surveyors reporting a rise in rents rather than a fall compared with 42% in the previous three month period. Significantly, the imbalance between demand and supply is thought likely to persist with the survey results suggesting that further gains in rents are likely over the coming months, RICS said.

One of the main drivers of the strong demand for rental property continues to be would be buyers who have moved to the lettings market after struggling to find mortgage finance, or first time buyers unable to meet lenders’ deposit requirements. As a result, 25%more chartered surveyors reported a rise in demand than a fall.
However, the survey says that it is significant that the challenging economic environment is also leading to more tenants relying on assistance from the government. Social lettings are now at their highest level since the series began in 1999, at 13% of all new lets, up from 8%. Meanwhile, lettings to private renters continue to make up the majority of lettings, at 66%.

New landlord instructions, which indicate the flow of rental property coming to the market, continue to edge upwards albeit only modestly, with just 5% more respondents reporting a rise in new instructions than a fall. Surveyors report that where tenancies are coming up for renewal, some landlords, particularly those in London and the South East, are now choosing to put their properties on the sales market, leaving fewer rental properties available.

‘The combination of strong tenant demand and a limited stock of good quality properties on offer is pushing rents ever higher across much of the country. This is the case both for houses and flats,’ said RICS spokesperson, James Scott-Lee.

‘Moreover, with mortgage finance for first time buyers likely to remain in short supply for some time to come, this imbalance is set to persist. The inevitable outcome is that rents will continue to increase,’ he added.