The net balance of chartered surveyors reporting rising rather than falling rents in the three months to January 2010 was zero. This follows five quarters of negative readings, and is in marked contrast to April last year when 58% more chartered surveyors were reporting falling rents, an all-time low for the survey. In addition, expectations as to the outlook for rents continues to strengthen with a net balance of 33% of respondents believing rents will to rise over the coming quarter (up from 22%).
Demand remains strong with 16% more respondents still seeing it rise than fall. Would be first-time buyers, unable to get a foot on the property ladder, are still a major source of increasing demand for good rental properties. Houses remain more popular than flats and it is the supply / demand imbalance in this market that is also helping to push rents higher.
Commenting, Jeremy Leaf, RICS spokesperson said: “It is becoming clear that movements in the housing market are affecting lettings: the RICS housing survey has seen a steady increase in the number of new instructions coming on to the market over the past few months, whilst simultaneously we see with this survey that the number of properties available to rent has decreased. This is a clear sign that the accidental landlords are returning to the sales market. If demand remains strong, which it is likely to as many first time buyers are still finding themselves priced out of the housing market, then rents should continue to rise as would be tenants compete for fewer properties.”