One in four letting agents has reported a surge in buyers looking to purchase buy-to-let investments before April, figures from the Association of Residential Letting Agents show.
The trade body also reported that stamp duty reforms to buy-to-let properties announced in the Autumn Statement are causing concern amongst ARLA letting agents.
Two in three agents predict the changes from April will push up rent costs, and a further two thirds predict the new reforms will push landlords out of the market after April and decrease supply.
David Cox, managing director of Association of Residential Letting Agents, said: “Buy-to-let landlords determined to complete purchases before the changes come into force in April are storming the UK housing market, meaning the lull we’d usually see is less significant.
“But subsequently, after April, we’re very likely to see the number of buy-to-let properties on the market begin to decrease and this will most certainly have a detrimental effect on renters across the country.”
ARLA agents registered an average of 29 prospective new tenants last month, down from 34 in November – a decrease of 15%.
Supply also fell marginally in December with an average of 182 properties managed per branch, down from 189 in November.
Those looking for rental properties in the capital continue to struggle with an average of just 108 properties managed per branch, 43% less than the national average.
The number of tenants seeing rent hikes also dropped in December, with only 18% of ARLA letting agents reporting a growth in rent – a drop of five percentage points from November and the lowest reported in 2015.