Fears over future of private rental market amid landlord exodus

The number of properties available to rent through letting agents has halved in the last four years as landlords have continued to leave the market, according to new figures.

Data compiled by letting agents organisation Propertymark also found that 94 per cent of landlords who removed their property from the rental market between 2019 and 2022 did so to sell it. More than half of rental properties sold in March this year alone did not return to the private rented market.

Propertymark said the figures highlighted the extent to which the private rented market is shrinking. Nathan Emerson, Propertymark’s chief executive, said the data “presents a worrying picture for private renters”.

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“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,” he said.

“We know from our 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.”

Propertymark, which has almost 18,000 members across the sector, surveyed 443 agents working for businesses with a combined total of more than 4,000 branches across all four UK nations for the report.

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