Demand for rental properties in UK increased in first quarter of 2016

Despite attempts by the UK Government to dampen the buy to let market and stimulate home buying, the first quarter of 2016 saw demand for properties to rent continue to rise, new research shows.

The number of landlords reporting tenant demand as either increasing slightly or significantly stood at 39%, up from 34% in the fourth quarter of 2015. A further 36% of landlords described tenant demand as being stable.

According to the latest survey by BDRC Continental for Paragon Mortgages, the sector is also witnessing high levels of tenant satisfaction. Some 79% tenants surveyed said they are satisfied with their current landlord.

The research also found that 85% of tenants consider their current rental property to be their home and 69% believe the level of rent they pay to be good or very good value for money.

Reflecting the changing balance in housing tenure, the average length of time tenants are spending in their current properties now stands at nearly seven years. The average length of time spent in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in total was reported to be nearly 13 years.

Landlords also agree that the PRS plays an increasingly important role in housing the UK. With the social housing sector having lost around one million homes since 1991, some 78% of landlords polled agreed the PRS compensates to some extent for the decline of the social housing sector.

An overwhelming majority, 89%, of landlords also stated the PRS has an important role to play in accommodating those who are priced out of home ownership, while 74% agreed the PRS plays a role in accommodating those excluded from social housing by dwindling supply.

‘The rise of the PRS and the decline of the social housing sector have been the predominant trends in the UK’s changing housing tenure over the last 20 years. This data gives an interesting insight into how both tenants and landlords perceive these trends,’ said John Heron, director of mortgages at Paragon.

‘It’s good to see tenant satisfaction at such high levels. The sector often suffers from negative PR and the good work done by the vast majority of landlords to provide homes for those who cannot or do not want to buy goes unremarked,’ he explained.

‘This survey clearly demonstrates that the PRS is increasingly providing longer term solutions in housing and that responsible and professional landlords are supporting the provision of housing to those that rely on the PRS for their home,’ he added.