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Lettings agents see rise in landlords selling-up

Letting agents have reported a slight rise in the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties in March, the first increase in investors pulling out of the market this year.

A survey carried out by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) found that an average of four landlords per branch were selling-up in April, an increase from three per branch in March.

Despite landlords’ desire to pull out of the market edging upwards, supply of rental properties remained strong in April. The number of rental properties listed by the 219 ARLA member branches rose 8% month-on-month from 169 properties in March to 183 last month. Annually, the outlook was less positive as registered rental properties fell from 193 in April 2015.

In April, supply was lowest in Wales, where agents managed an average 119 properties per member branch, and highest in Scotland where there were 263 properties available to rent per branch.

Tenant demand rose slightly month-on-month from 33 prospective renters in March to 34 last month, but fell year-on-year from 36.

David Cox, managing director, ARLA, said: “It’s likely that this increase in supply is only temporary. At the end of April we saw a flurry of landlords seizing the last few moments before the Stamp Duty rise to complete sales, triggering an increase in the supply of empty rental homes to be filled this month.

“However, we expect that fewer investors will be taking on buy-to-let properties over the next six months, following the price hikes, meaning that once these properties are filled we’ll see supply nose-dive once again.”


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