The demand for private rented housing has reached a five-year high, according to research released by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
The survey of private landlords across England and Wales, conducted in partnership with research consultancy BVA/BDRC, found that 39% confirmed demand for homes to rent had increased in the second quarter of 2021 – 8% more than said so in the first quarter of the year.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, Wales, the South West and the South East more than 60% of landlords said that demand for homes to rent had increased.
In contrast, just 15% of landlords in central London said demand had increased in the second quarter of the year, compared with 53% who said it had fallen.
Despite an overall increase in demand, the proportion of landlords intending to buy property has fallen from the four year high of 19% recorded in the first quarter of the year, to 14%.
In comparison, the proportion looking to divest has returned to 20%, up three percentage points from the first quarter of the year.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, 55% of landlords said that their lettings business will continue to be negatively impacted as a result of the pandemic.
An estimated 81% of those in outer London and 78% of those in central London said they would be negatively impacted.
At the other end of the spectrum, 49% of those in Yorkshire and the Humber said they would be negatively affected.
Chris Norris, policy director for the NRLA, said: “The evidence is clear that nationally whilst the demand for homes to rent is increasing, landlords are more reluctant to invest in new properties.
“The only losers will be tenants as they struggle to find the homes to rent they need.
“The Chancellor needs to recognise the harm being done by tax hikes imposed on the sector.
“It is clear that there is a significant flight of tenants from the capital in response to the COVID pandemic.
“With lockdown restrictions having ended, and offices beginning to reopen, the jury is out as to whether this trend will continue.”