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MAY 18, 2017 | BY A & S Property

Rental market activity slows sharply

There was a significant fall in both the number of new listings and properties let last month, as a lack of supply restricted choice for potential renters.

Following a vast improvement in activity levels throughout the UK rental market in March, compared with the previous month, the latest Agency Express Property Activity Index shows that national figures in April for properties ‘let’ saw a 22.1% month-on-month decline, while new listings ‘to let’ dropped by 19.7%.

The data appears consistent with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA Propertymark) latest findings that a growing number of landlords are choosing to exit the private rental market due to higher stamp duty costs and the phasing out of mortgage tax relief, which is reducing the supply of rental properties available.

Looking at performance across the UK, all 12 regions recorded by the Property Activity Index reported falls in new listings ‘to let’ as well as homes ‘let’. 

Here are the regions that recorded the smallest declines in this month’s index:

 Properties ‘To Let’

  • West Midlands -13.4%
  • East Midlands -13.5%
  • North West -14.1%

Properties ‘Let By’

  • Scotland -2.8%
  • Yorkshire & Humberside -13.3%
  • North West 18.2%


London saw the biggest fall in both the volume of listings ‘let’ and ‘to let’ in this month’s property activity index at -26.1% and -24.3% respectively.

The decline is much less when looking at the index’s rolling three monthly figures, with new listings falling by 4.7% and properties ‘let’ dropping by 3.3%.

Stephen Watson, managing director of Agency Express, said: “This month we have witnessed a slowdown across the UK rental market. While our figures will be affected by the bank holiday weekends and reduced number of working days, the fall in activity seems greater than what we would anticipate.

“As we now move in to what is usually a robust period for the market, it will be interesting to see what advances are made in light of the difficulties that landlords and agents face.” 

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