The Group’s quarterly research into the private rental sector also found that the volume of viewings increased by 17.8% compared to the previous quarter, an annual increase of 8.2%.
Tenants are not hanging around either – properties were let on average half a day quicker than the previous quarter, snapped up within a record speed of 12.7 days. In the same period last year, average properties were let within 13.5 days of being launched to market.
In line with figures from the last quarter, Countrywide, which operates 1300 lettings and estate agency offices across the UK, recorded an average of five tenants competing for each available rental property, despite a marginal increase in the number of properties available.
Demand from investors is also strong, with a substantial rise in the total number of instructions, up 9.2% from the previous quarter. Interestingly, the report has found that the mix of landlords has shifted since the beginning of 2011, with both a larger number and proportion of landlords falling into the first-time investor category. In Q3, 23.5% of all landlords were those investing in property for the first time, compared to 18.7% at the start of the year.
Margaret Longden, Co-managing Director at Countrywide Residential Lettings, said: "Since the beginning of the year we have seen a significant increase in tenant demand for private rental property and although there are still some slight fluctuations that can be linked to seasonality, we’ve found that the demand for rental property has remained incredibly high throughout the year.
"We expect this demand to continue over the coming months, not only because many first-time buyers are struggling to save the substantial deposits currently required to purchase property, but also because a lot of people now see renting as a realistic alternative to home ownership, whether it be because they are awaiting further house price falls or because they are attracted to the flexibility that renting can offer."
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