Rents are expected to push up faster than house prices over the next five years as landlords scale back the number of properties on their books, according to a survey.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said rental prices are predicted to outpace house price inflation, as an imbalance between supply and demand squeezes rents higher.
Over the coming five years, surveyors anticipate rents will increase by just over 25%, while house prices rise by just under 20%.
Rics found a net balance of 28% more surveyors feel landlords are likely to decrease rather than increase their portfolios over the next 12 months and over the next three years a balance of 26% expect landlords to scale back their portfolios.
This could push rents higher as tenants would be competing for fewer rental properties.
Rics said a lack of listings coming to the lettings market could become a bigger issue in the years ahead as a recent stamp duty hike for landlords and other tax changes diminish the attractiveness of buy-to-let as an investment.
The survey was conducted before the release of the Government's white paper this week, which contained plans to boost the rental sector, including making it easier for developers to offer affordable private rental homes and offering renters more long-term "family friendly" tenancies.
Jeremy Blackburn, Rics head of policy, said ministers had listened to Rics' views on giving the private rental sector more priority alongside owner-occupation. He said supply in the market needs a "turbo boost".
Rics' survey also found that house prices continued to edge up across the UK in January, with a balance of 25% of surveyors reporting prices rising rather than falling.
House prices are expected to continue rising across most parts of the UK over the next 12 months, with the exception of London, where expectations have turned slightly negative, the survey found.
Property values in central London have been generally falling for several months, but most other parts of the UK have continued to see prices rise, with the North West and the South West of England and Northern Ireland seeing particularly strong growth, according to the survey.
Rics said the number of properties for sale across the country remains close to historic lows. Meanwhile, a net balance of 5% of surveyors reported an increase in demand from home buyers rather than a fall.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, said: "The scale of the challenge the Government faces as it announces its new approach to housing is clearly demonstrated in the results from our latest survey."
A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokeswoman said: "This Government is determined to make housing more affordable and secure for ordinary working families and have a rental market that offers much more choice.
"Measures in our white paper will get more rental homes built and provide more security for renters so that this is a country that works for everyone."
Most viewed property of the year
Most viewed property of the year
This unassuming three-bedroom detached house in Martins Heron in Berkshire doesn’t immediately look like the kind of property to draw the crowds. However, the fact it was used as Harry Potter’s home in the first of the films means we were intrigued to see inside this £475,000 property that was ideal for commuting.
This was an impressive seven-bedroom home in Upper Denby, on the market for £1.3 million - with plenty of rustic charm and a wood-burning stove. However, we all know the real reason this made it to the list of the most-viewed properties: it’s the enormous play area complete with pirate ship that you can just catch sight of through the lounge window.
This five bedroom relatively newly-built mansion has every whistle and bell you could wish for - from a cinema and games room to a gym, swimming pool, and a dining room that’s big enough for a grand piano in the corner. It’s still on the market for £1.05 million, and is right next to Lincoln Golf course if you fancy playing a round.
Unsurprisingly, this development project on Chadwick Road in East London has been snapped up. At just £1 million you got 13 rooms over four floors - with off-street parking for three cars. No wonder it was the seventh most popular home for us to look at, and dream that with a bit of elbow grease we could have a huge London property... and we could finally park somewhere near it too.
This is a home that comes with a dream lifestyle. For just £1.4 million, you can get an incredibly swanky five-bedroom farmhouse in seven acres of lovely Welsh countryside. You also get a two-bedroom barn conversion - either to house visiting family, or to run as a holiday letting business. The house is still in the market - so that dream could still be yours.
Ever fancy your own posh lakeside hideaway with its own jetty just over an hour from London - for just £2.8 million?
For just £545,000, this 6-bedroom house in Donaghadee could be yours. The property itself is very recently developed in an elegantly rustic New England style. There's plenty of room, and a dream bathroom. But possibly the reason it features so high up the list of most-viewed houses is that it comes with a paddock and stable - perfect for anyone with horsey aspirations.
It’s easy to see why this pretty £375,000 cottage is in such high demand. First is the fact it has been rebuilt from reclaimed stone, so combines old world charm with handy modern features (like a good-sized kitchen and fancy bathroom). Then there’s the location - right in the centre of the village of Holmfirth - best-known as the setting of Last of the Summer Wine.
This impressive house in Bromley in Kent has footballer written all over it. From the pale grey colour scheme, to the acres of space, and the enormous patio for entertaining, there's plenty for a footballer to love. At just £1.7 million it’s pocket-change for them too. For the rest of us, there’s the chance to dream of a mansion within commuting distance of London for the price of a flat in Notting Hill.
There was a time when a semi-detached five-bedroom home in Hampstead Garden Suburb was the sort of thing that ordinary families could aspire to. Now it's the kind of thing we spend our time daydreaming over on property websites: marveling at a 90 foot garden and the fact it has a garage. The price tag of £2.25 million means it's the kind of house we can only ever afford to look at online - which is probably why it's the most viewed property of the year.