Cost-conscious renters are taking the steam out of the Belfast property letting market, according to a report by Citylets.
It found that average private rents in the city rose by only 2% over the last year and now stand at around £570 a month, a slowdown on previous years when landlords were achieving considerable uplifts in rent when contracts were renewed.
Would-be first-time buyers, unable to get on the property market, were said to be behind the increase in demand in the sector, Citylets analyst Dan Cookson, who compiled the report, said.
More expensive rental properties are finding it particularly hard to attract tenants.
Citylets said nearly half of all one bedroom properties are let within a month of being advertised while only 17% of four bedroom properties are secured in the same time.
"Like most people, tenants are starting to shop around to see if there's better value out there.
"Unfortunately, this means that those landlords seeking premium rents for larger, properties in the best areas are finding it tougher to secure a tenant quickly," Mr Cookson said.
According to the report, at the end of December, the average cost of a one bedroom property in the city was around £500 a month, going up to £520 for a popular two bedroom home.
Three and four bedroom properties cost around £590 and £700 respectively.
Barry Corscaden, managing director of PropertyLinkNI.com, agreed with the findings.
"We've also seen a healthy number of new properties coming on to the market over the last quarter, with a steady stream of tenants following suit," he said.
"However, 'value for money' and 'fuel economy' feature very strongly on tenant wish lists these days."