Countrywide’s lettings division surveyed its UK network of more than 200 branches, which help more than 50,000 landlords and tenants every year to track key market trends. The findings of the survey reveal that there is now an average of 2.9 tenants vying for every property – a 16% increase since Q4 2009.
Whilst demand for rental properties is above the UK average in the South West of the country, the greatest increase in demand is in the North West which has an average of 2.7 tenants per property – an increase of 1.2 tenants. Within the North West, three bedroom properties in Manchester, Southport and Preston are receiving the most attention.
Over 82% of branches surveyed had seen an increase in the number of tenants requesting short term contracts.
John Hards, co-managing director at Countrywide Residential Lettings, said: “We are seeing a growing number of tenant enquiries from house hunters caught between house sales, having successfully sold their property but unable to find somewhere else to purchase. As buyers currently outweigh the number of properties on the market, househunters looking for flexible solution are being driven to the rental sector to bridge the gap.”
The findings also suggest that it is not just large corporate investors expanding their property portfolios; small scale buy-to-let landlords are expanding and snapping up property before house prices rise any further.
John added: “We are likely to see more buy-to-let investors emerging into the market, which will appease the shortage of properties in a number of cities, particularly in areas like London where there are some significant rent increases due to lack of supply.”