UK faces chronic shortage of rental homes, alarming new data shows

A growing number of people are struggling to find homes to rent, as the supply-demand imbalance in the PRS continues to widen, new figures show.

According to the newly released End of Year 2022 Property & Homemovers Report from property and data insight specialist, TwentyCi there are now more homes available to buy, but there are significantly fewer properties to let.

The data reveals that the availability of stock within the owner-occupied market is now back to a pre-pandemic norm, but the reverse is true for the letting market.

The figures show a 5% increase in new instructions to the owner-occupied market in 2022 and a 14% drop in sales agreed which together have resulted in a significant easing of stock available across all regions of the UK. Most areas now have five months or more of supply, which is more than double the levels in some regions during 2021. This is far closer to the number of houses available for sale back in 2019 prior to the onslaught of Covid-19.

Inner London and Wales have the most available stock with over six months, whilst Scotland and the Northeast currently have the least at around four and a half months of stock each. Despite this easing of the supply squeeze, house prices have remained buoyant, 8.4 per cent higher than in 2019, but down from the peak recorded in Q2 2022.

In contrast, new instructions within the letting market are down by almost 8% compared to 2021 and by over 25 per cent since 2019.

Buy-to-let landlords are rapidly withdrawing from the market as tax, regulatory and cost environments have become less favourable. Apart from Inner London, which currently has four and a half months of letting property stock on the books, all regions sit between 1.5 and three months of rental homes available.

Renters in Scotland and Northern Ireland are in the most precarious situation. Lack of supply is further compounded on the demand side as tenants are deferring decisions to buy because of the cost-of-living crisis. This pressure has resulted in average monthly asking price reaching £1652, an increase of £200 since 2021 and almost £300 since the ‘norm’ of 2019.

TwentyCi’s MD, Colin Bradshaw, commented: “2022 was a turbulent year when the widely anticipated housing market re-calibration began to take effect. We’ve seen some key shifts; most markedly in the stock situations for both the owner-occupied and lettings markets. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to deepen, 2023 looks set to be another fast-changing year and it will be important to keep on top of market trends.” 


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  1. MrManyUnits

    Chances are the rule makers will bring in more to keep themselves in a job. Shelter anti Landlord press releases will make more Landlords give up !

  2. frostieclaret87

    What do they expect to happen when Landlords are smashed and presented as ruthless capitalist thugs?  The lunatics running the asylum being given their medicine by  Shelter, the left wing anti landlord political organisation. Madness!!!

  3. A W

    Really! My gosh, nobody saw this coming!

    Well done Shelter, GR & their ilk.

  4. letstalk

    So…. Does this disprove all of the tenant lobbying groups point that if landlords give up renting houses there will be more people able to afford their own homes? Another own goal for them and their anti-LL campaign and further proof that they should really have more insight into basic economics and look at the perpetrators of the whole issue around the supply and demand of housing, the government. But whilst the tenant lobbying groups make it so easy for the government to hide behind landlords, why would the government not support them?

  5. Woodentop

    Housing stock has been a problem ever since local authorities stopped building social housing for the ever increasing demand and that’s been going on fore over the last couple of decades. The story isn’t new news and we have been complaining over last 8 years that year of year it was going to get worse, to the point now that many rental are vastly over priced rents, which I predict will rebound on greedy landlords second half of 2023 and into 2024 with escalation of rent arrears.


    Supply and demand will always create a false boom, as it does with sale or lettings. But I can’t as a landlord or letting agent get my head around how you can now ask in some instances over 100% rent increase in 12 months. Some are just shocking rents with no justification and I have noticed that more than a few (same agents) have a stale stock of properties at a time when the rest of us, let under offer within 24 hours at good and fair rents which have also been increased to maintain affordability with happy landlords. What are these agents doing? Irresponsible greed is not sustainable or sensible for many of these tenants that are desperate for a roof over their heads and likely to default!


    The lettings industry has a part to play in ensuring affordability but is unregulated, hence the wild west which will rebound upon us all.

    1. A W

      The lettings market is unregulated? I’m sure you don’t mean that:

      We live in a capitalist economy, prices will always be dictated by market demand. It doesn’t matter what prices were, only what someone is willing to pay.


      1. Woodentop

        When it comes to chasing the landlord, far too much unregulated shenanigans creates misery. Market will dictate if left alone but I see far too much chasing by agents that giving sound advice. Nothing new, it happens with some in sales and lettings. As for those organisations, toothless with no power and reactive only to membership and that is firmly after the horse has bolted.


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