Letting agents report largest number of properties on books this year

The typical number of properties on letting agents' books has reached its strongest level so far this year, a report has found.

Across the UK, there were around 184 properties registered in July per agent, marking the highest number seen so far in 2016, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) said.

Arla said the figure paints "a positive picture for prospective tenants", although the supply of rental properties on the market is still down compared with a year earlier. In July 2015, agents had 189 properties on their books typically.

The figures include properties which have been let and those which are currently unoccupied.

On April 1, a three percentage point increase in stamp duty was imposed on people buying second homes, including buy-to-let investors.

Estate agents reported seeing a surge of investors rushing to snap up properties before the tax increase. Many of the properties that were bought during the stampede will now be appearing on the rental market.

Rental prices also held steady in July, with seven in 10 (71%) of agents seeing no change in rents, according to Arla's survey of 190 member branches.

David Cox, managing director of Arla, said that while new homes are still needed to meet levels of demand, "the situation isn't worsening as a direct result of June's Brexit result".

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