Rents have grown by their slowest rate since the end of 2014 buoyed by a 12% jump in buy-to-let properties coming to market, Rightmove claims.
The portal’s Rental Tracker for the first quarter of 2017 identified an overhang from last year’s buy-to-let surge that it says means letting agents now need to work harder to secure tenants for landlords.
The figures show rents increased 1.8% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017 to £768 a month on average.
This is the lowest since the last quarter of 2014 and less than half the annual growth of 3.9% recorded in the first three months of 2016.
Average rents in Greater London fell 4.2% to £1,937 a month, which is a slight improvement on the 4.4% annual drop recorded in the previous quarter.
The average time for a buy-to-let to stay on a letting agent’s books also increased to 33 days in the first quarter of 2017, up from 30 at the same time last year.
Sam Mitchell, head of lettings for Rightmove, said: “The supply boost following last year’s buy-to-let frenzy in the first few months of the year has continued through to 2017, introducing more competition in the market for letting agents trying to secure suitable tenants for their landlords’ properties.
“This extra choice for tenants in many areas has inevitably led to properties taking longer to let than this time last year. However, agents are still reporting that well-priced properties in popular areas are letting quickly.
“The new tax changes that started to phase in from this month may also lead to some landlords selling off properties and the extra Stamp Duty on buy-to-lets may deter some landlords from expanding their portfolios, so now seems to be the right time for tenants who want to have more choice to look around.”
Mitchell said that now might be the right time to encourage landlords “to give the place a lick of paint or some new furniture to give them the edge to help secure the right tenant”.