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Agents now managing more rental units than ever before, says ARLA

An end-of-year market snapshot by the Association of Residential Letting Agents shows the supply of rental accommodation was the highest on record in 2020.

There were 203 properties managed on average per ARLA Propertymark member branch throughout the year, compared to 2019’s figure of 199.

This was despite landlords continuing to feel the pinch and the number of buy to let investors selling their properties hitting an average of four per branch per month in 2020 – and briefly hitting five per branch in both February and September.
The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes has fallen this year to 36 per cent, from an average of 44 per cent in 2019. ARLA puts this down to Coronavirus rent struggles preventing further tenant fees ban-related rent increases.

Agents reported the highest number of prospective tenants searching for homes on record in August this year, when 101 were recorded per branch.

The whole year average for this was 86, topping 2019’s previous figure of 69 prospective tenants searching for homes.

“Rental markets have remained remarkably resilient throughout this trying year, despite market closure between March and May. The prioritisation by the government of a functioning property market and subsequent implementation of the stamp duty holiday as well as measures taken to keep the rent flowing within the private rental sector, have allowed for record breaking levels of house sales and rental accommodation” says Mark Hayward, the former NAEA Propertymark chief executive who is now chief policy advisor at Propertymark.

“We are confident this boom will continue through the new year but grow increasingly concerned about the impact of the stamp duty cliff edge on March 31 2021. This cliff edge has already increased pressure on service providers within the industry, causing delays for buyers and sellers, and could cause thousands of sales to fall through at the final hurdle as buyers realise their sale will not be completed ahead of the deadline.”

In the sales market, the number of properties available to buy hasn’t changed year-on-year, with an average of 39 available per branch consistently since 2018.

The month of July saw the highest number of properties available this year, with an average of 43 available to buy per branch. Supply has dropped considerably over the last decade, from 63 on average per branch in 2010.

The number of sales agreed per branch throughout the year hit a decade high of 10 sales on average per month in 2020. Historically this figure has stayed consistent, only moving between seven and nine between 2010 and 2019.

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