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Rents hit new highs

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In a sign that buy-to-let landlords are trying to recoup lost profits, the percentage of tenants experiencing rent hikes was at its highest level ever in August.

Demand from tenants looking for new homes fell, while the number of properties letting agents managed increased, according to the ARLA Propertymark August Private Rented Sector report

The number of tenants seeing rent hikes rose to 40% In August, up from 31% July and the highest figure recorded since the group started monitoring in January 2015.

Year on year, this figure has increased from 35% in August 2017 and 27% in August 2016.

Possibly in response to price rises or from Brexit-related concerns, demand from prospective tenants fell significantly, with the number of house-hunters registered per branch dropping by 19% in August to 64 on average, compared to 79 in July. Year on year, demand is down 11%.

Surprisingly, given the recent exodus of landlords from the buy to let sector, the supply of available properties rose in August, from 184 last month to 197 this month, up 4% from 189 in August 2017. This would normally push rents lower, but this hasn’t happened to date.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, said: “As we’ve highlighted before, the impact of recent and ongoing tax changes continues to have a material impact on the buy-to-let market. Four in ten tenants saw their rents rise in August – the highest level we’ve seen since records began. Although it’s encouraging to see the number of properties available to rent rising, supply still isn’t anywhere near high enough to slow down the pace of rent rises. We need more homes to rent, and for Government to change its narrative and recognise the very valid role buy-to-let plays in the housing mix. Driving small landlords out of the market ultimately impacts tenants most.”

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