The number of new prospective tenants soared 27 per cent in the New Year according to figures released over the weekend from the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
The increase was from 64 in December to an average 81 per agency branch in January.
Year-on-year this is marginally lower than in January 2020 when the figure stood at 88 but is higher than January 2019 when the figure stood at 73.
Regionally, Yorkshire & the Humberside had the highest number of new tenants registered per branch with an average of 138.
In terms of rent levels, the number of tenants experiencing increases rose in January as 39 per cent of agents saw landlords increasing rent compared to 30 per cent in December.
However, year-on-year this figure is down from 42 per cent in January 2020.
The number of tenants negotiating a rent reduction fell from 2.2 per cent in December to 2.0 per cent in January. This is higher than during January 2020 when 1.3 per cent of tenants successfully negotiated a rent reduction.
The number of properties managed per letting agent branch fell from 204 in December to 196 in January. However, this is a slight increase from January 2020, when there were 191 properties managed per branch.
And the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties remained at four per branch in January. Year-on-year this figure remains the same as January 2020.
“The rental market isn’t indicating any signs of slowing down as demand for rental properties surged last month. Letting agents are continuing to support landlords and their tenants during these ongoing difficult times, and it is imperative that tenancies are maintained to keep the rent flowing” explains Mark Hayward, chief policy advisor, at ARLA Propertymark.
“Now we have a route out of the current lockdown, it is vital that continuity in the private rental sector is maintained to continue to help the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
“To do this, the government must consider introducing a financial support package for those tenants who have built up rent arrears due to the financial impact of Covid-19.”