Number of properties available to rent up year-on-year, report shows

The choice of available properties for renters is up year-on-year, despite landlords having faced a potential squeeze on their profits, a report has found.

The number of homes marked as "available" by letting agents on Rightmove's website in the second quarter of 2017 was up by 7% compared with the second quarter of last year outside London.

Within London, the number of available homes was up by 8% year-on-year.

But despite the widened choice, asking rental prices are continuing to edge upwards, Rightmove found.

Asking rents outside London increased by 2.8% compared with the previous quarter to reach £790 per month on average.

Within London, asking rents have decreased by 0.2% compared with the previous quarter, averaging £1,934 per month.

Rightmove said Ascot, Bath, Salford, Newcastle, Leeds, Cambridge, Birmingham, Cardiff and Aberdeen currently offer some of the biggest concentrations of available properties for renters in the UK.

The findings were based on the areas with the highest numbers of available rental properties, as a proportion of total housing stock in the areas.

The widened choice has come despite a stamp duty hike being imposed on buy-to-let landlords in April 2016, as well as other tax changes for this sector which prompted concerns some landlords may choose to leave the market.

Rightmove's head of lettings Sam Mitchell said: "Many thought that rental supply would constrict this year, as landlords sold up and looked to invest their money elsewhere, but clearly this isn't happening yet.

"Perhaps landlords are re-mortgaging their buy-to-let properties instead, as they still feel it's a better investment than looking to other industries.

"It could spell good news for tenants coming to the end of their lease as they might find there is slightly more choice than last year.

"Anyone hoping for a drop in prices due to the extra choice will be disappointed though as rents are following a very similar trend to previous years."

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