The group’s quarterly research into the private rental sector found that despite marginal increases in new rental properties coming to the market, demand continues to outstrip supply with an average of five tenants competing for each available rental property.
In fact, this high demand has fuelled tenants to snap up properties in record average of 13.3 days – half a day quicker than in Q2 2011, even though the number of rental properties available has increased since Q1 2011.
Countrywide, which operates over 1,300 estate agency and lettings offices across the UK, has also uncovered some significant changes the types of properties available to rent, measuring an influx in the availability of larger family homes across the UK. Nationally, 3+ bedroom properties now account for 41% of all rental properties, compared to less than a third of properties in Q2 last year (32%), suggesting the return of buy-to-let investors and sellers looking to let out their unsold family homes.
John Hards, co-managing director of Countrywide Residential Lettings said: “The latest findings provide an interesting insight into the recent changes across the lettings landscape; where both demand and supply has been affected by a subdued sales market.
“However, positively, we’ve seen the percentage of reluctant landlords continued downwards, with a 5% fall in the number of landlords renting out their properties to cover their mortgage since Q4 2010.
“Feedback from our branches shows that lots of unsuccessful sellers have chosen to ‘let-to-move’, tempted by the prospect of a quicker return on investment by letting out their property. Interestingly, some sellers may also be looking to ‘rent-to-move’ whilst they wait for both a realistic offer on their unsuitable property and their ideal home to come along at the right price.
“Whilst future house price movements remain uncertain, and the mismatch of buyer & seller expectation continues, we are seeing landlord void periods fall and expect this high level of demand to continue.
“Viewings are at record highs and there is still an average of five tenants competing for each available rental property, so although the location, price and condition of the property remain important, property undoubtedly remains a sound investment for those hoping to take advantage of high tenant demand.”