Number of active landlords falls to seven-year low

The number of landlords operating in the UK fell to a seven-year low of 2.66 million in 2019.

Hamptons International’s monthly lettings index found that the landlord count peaked in 2017 – last year there were 8% fewer than two years before.

Measures like the reduction in mortgage tax relief, and 3% stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let properties are likely to have driven some out of the market.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “Those who have stayed tend to have bigger portfolios – a further sign that the sector is professionalising.

“The average landlord in Great Britain owned 1.93 properties last year, the highest level since 2009.

“Rents rose in every region across Great Britain in January to stand 3.6% higher than at the same time last year.

“The number of new homes purchased by landlords remains low, which is feeding through to fewer homes available to rent. This is particularly true in the South, where rents are rising the most.”

Landlords in the North East have the biggest portfolios, with 2.05 homes on average, followed by those based in Yorkshire & the Humber (2.03) and London (2.01).

Average rents in Great Britain rose to £998 per month in January, up 3.6% on the same time last year.