Demand from tenants soared last month – but supply of properties fell, and rents rose.
ARLA Propertymark says that in January, tenancy demand rose to an all-time high with 88 prospective tenants registered per branch, up from 56 in December.
Measured year-on-year, demand was up by 21%.
However, the number of rental properties managed per branch slipped from 206 in December to 191 last month, slightly less than the 197 per branch in January last year.
Four in ten (42%) of letting agents reported rent rises, compared with 32% in December, and 26% in January last year.
ARLA chief executive David Cox said: “These results are a huge blow for tenants.
“With demand increasing by more than half, but rental supply falling, rent costs are unsurprisingly being pushed up.
“Our recent research found that tenants could miss out on nearly half a million properties as more landlords exit the traditional private rented sector and turn towards short-term lets, which will only serve to worsen the problem for those seeking longer term rental accommodation.
“With the Budget around the corner, it’s important that the Government works to make the private rented sector attractive to landlords again, rather than introducing complex legislation which ultimately squeezes the sector and leaves tenants worse off.”