July rental demand reached its highest level this year – as there were 79 prospective tenants per branch, ARLA Propertymark research shows.
However the supply of available properties moved in the opposite direction, falling from 191 in June to 184 last month.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “Buy-to-let investors are being pushed out of the market by increasing costs and continued regulatory change, and new landlords are being deterred from entering.
“Last month, an average of four landlords took their properties off the market per branch, up from three this time last year – and as supply falls, competition among tenants increases, which pushes up rent costs.
“Almost a third saw their rents rise last month, and although this figure was down from June, it’s still far too high.
“To put tenants back in the driving seat, we need more homes available to rent, and the only way this will be achieved is if the government makes the market more attractive for buy-to-let investors.”
In July 31% of tenants saw a rental increase, down from 35% in June.
The last time there were this many tenants per branch was in September 2017.