The rental property market has boomed in recent years as more people find themselves unable to get on the property ladder.
According to the government's 2020-21 English Housing Survey, the private rental sector accounts for 4.4m (19%) of all households. The rate has remained at around 19% to 20% since 2013.
Private renting is more prevalent in London, where 27% of households live in the private rented sector.Over the last decade there has been an increase in the proportion of people aged 45-54 living in the private rented sector, from 11% in 2010/11, to 16% in 2020/21. Over the same period there was a decrease in the proportion of owner occupiers in the same age group, from 74% to 65%.
In 2022 there were an average of 82 prospective renters registered with each letting agency branch, according to letting and estate agents' organisation Propertymark.
For landlords the financial rewards can be great. In 2021 the average monthly rent broke the £1,000 mark for the first time, according to figures published by Homelet. In London the average monthly rent is just over £1,600.
However, a word of caution is advised when looking at average rental property price figures of homes to rent. While some use asking prices, others base their average monthly figures on agreed rents, which can be around £100-£150 lower than the average national asking price.
A further indication of the scale of the UK property market has come from mortgage lenders' trade body UK Finance. Purchasing using buy-to-let lending increased to £18bn in 2021, up by 83% on 2020's figures.
With such a strong demand for rental property among tenants comes a significant reduction in risk for landlords, who are finding it easier to rent properties.
In 2021 estate agents Hamptons found that it takes just 8.9 days on average to let a property in the UK, the shortest amount of time recorded since it began recording the data. It also found that the average rural house is let in 8 days and the average for city homes is slightly longer, at 10.6 days.
Who is taking advantage of this rental property sector boom? Landlords with a small property portfolio dominate the private rental market. In 2021, 42% of landlords owned two to four properties, compared to 7% who owned more than 20.
There are also several large social housing associations in the rental sector. The largest of these is Clarion Housing Association, which manages 125,000 homes in around 170 council areas.
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