According to the ARLA Propertymark survey for October, the number of properties letting agents managed per branch fell to a 12-month low. On average, each branch had 182, down from 189 in September.
Tenant supply also dipped from 79 prospective tenants registered per branch in September, to 69.2.
This was coupled with the lowest level of tenants experiencing rent increases since December 2016.
Falling rent hikes
One in five (22%) of tenants saw their rents rise in October – down from 27% in September, and a high of 35% in August.
In line with this, the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions increased marginally from 2.4% in September to 2.5%. This figure also hit an extreme in August, bottoming out at 2% – the lowest seen since May 2016.
Slower time of year
ARLA Propertymark chief executive David Cox noted this time of year was typically slower for the rental market with a large number of tenancies are agreed over the summer, meaning both supply and demand are usually lower in the Autumn.
“However, a lot are also agreed in the New Year and if stock remains low, competition for properties among prospective tenants will increase, which will in turn push rents up, so we must see an increase in supply over the next two months,” he said.
“With that in mind, it’s good news that the recent spate of rent increases we’ve seen seems to have slowed, but 22% is still high. The cost of living continues to rise and for many, the dream of homeownership is too far out of reach.
“Last week’s news that stamp duty will be cut for first-time-buyers will mean consumers feel more positive and will hopefully go some way towards helping more people get onto the housing ladder. But if rent costs continue to rise, it will forever be an unreachable aspiration for many,” he added.