Belfast Telegraph

Rents soar as supply of housing dries up

Rents in the UK are continuing to rise rapidly in the face of strong tenant demand and a shortage of available properties, research has indicated.

A balance of 40% more surveyors reported increases in rents during the three months to the end of January, the highest level recorded by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) since it first began the survey in 1998.

The group said the ongoing problems in the mortgage market and the high deposits lenders demanded from borrowers, were preventing many people from becoming homeowners, leading to rapid growth in tenant demand since late 2009.

In the latest survey, about 32% more surveyors reported a rise in people looking to rent than those who saw a fall, with houses more in demand than flats.

But at the same time, the supply of rental property continued to decrease, with a balance of 4% of surveyors saying fewer properties had become available during the period.

Rics said there had also been a shift in who was renting properties, with stock from private landlords falling from 80% of the market before 2009 to around 70% now, possibly as a result of buy-to-let investors also struggling to raise the mortgage finance they need.

Meanwhile, the downturn has led to the proportion of social tenants nearly doubling, rising from 6% two years ago to 11% now.

Looking ahead, surveyors remain optimistic that the market will continue to be buoyant, with a balance of 37% predicting further rent rises during the coming three months.