Landlords may drop rents as market ‘levels off’

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renting pricesFamilies currently weighing up their options over whether to buy or rent a property might be swayed by signs in the rental market that prices could be levelling off.

A recent survey of letting agents in the private rental sector (PRS) found that in the first quarter of this year, 50% reported increased achievable rent levels, which is down on the 60% figure recorded in the same poll nine months ago.

If this trend continues, it may suggest that the cost of renting is beginning to stabilise following last year's boom.

The data from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (Arla) also found that over the same period of time, the duration that a rental property was left untenanted increased for the second quarter in a row - rising to an average of three weeks.

If demand for rental properties continues to weaken, landlords may have to drop their prices, meaning such accommodation might become more affordable for families unsure about whether or not this is the right time to get on to the property ladder.

Arla president Tim Hyatt said: "Our data suggests that things could be changing in the PRS as the amount being charged for rent is beginning to stabilise in some parts of the UK. This could be due to a number of factors, including an increase in haggling forcing rent levels down.

"Our members also report a decline in the number of properties coming onto the rental market because they can't be sold, suggesting that the initial boom in 'reluctant landlords' joining the PRS is coming to an end.

"However we know anecdotally that this is by no means a consistent picture across the UK, as there is still a huge demand for rental property in some parts of the country. Ultimately, the key challenge of under supply has not been solved and there is still a need to provide the right housing, in the right places, across the wider housing market."

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