The vast majority – 94% – of landlords who removed property from the private rented sector (PRS) between 2019 and 2022 did not return to the market, says a new survey from Propertymark.
Having received 443 responses to its survey, the trade body found that during the same period, the number of properties available to rent through letting agents halved – from an average of 30.4 per branch to 15.6 per branch.
And the average number of properties for rent sold per estate agent branch has collapsed – although only recently. Propertymark says that between 2019 and 2021, the change this number was “indistinguishable.”
In March 2022, however, “we saw a marked difference for the first time.” The survey shows that the average number of buy-to-let properties sold in March was 9.6, with the number purchased by landlords was 4.5. Propertymark says this suggests that over half of these properties are being retooled as owner-occupied properties.
Chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “The number of properties available to rent has been diminishing, with a large portion of landlords choosing to sell their properties. A lack of property is the root cause for rent increases and rising figures on social housing lists.
“We know from our qualitative research that the most common reasons for landlords to choose to sell their properties and no longer provide homes are around risk, finances and viability.
“Landlords and letting agents have been the subject of extreme legislation changes as the UK government tries to improve the sector. However, without a middle ground, these changes are actually proving detrimental to those they are supposed to protect.
“Sadly, we do not see this improving as the sector braces itself for more changes within the anticipated Renters’ Reform Bill and upcoming energy efficiency targets.”