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The number of new tenants registering for rental accommodation exceeded 200,000 last year as demand reached record levels in 2010, reported the UKâ€™s largest lettings agent Countrywide. According to Countrywideâ€™s latest figures, the overall volume of new tenant applications increased by 37% in 2010 compared to 2009, with demand peaking between July and September.
In contrast, the average number of properties available to let fell by 29% last year, compared to the year before. Countrywide reported that the biggest area of lending growth was for buy-to-let mortgages with applications jumping 22%. Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, said that the problems home buyers are experiencing getting mortgages finance will mean more people turn to the rental sector.
â€˜Despite the increase in buy-to-let lending, supply remains significantly lower than demand, with an average of 4.5 tenants vying for every available property in 2010. â€˜During 2009 there were 2.3 tenants for every available rental property, which demonstrates the upward shift in demand weâ€™re experiencing,â€™ he explained.
He warned that this could reach critical levels with limited mortgage availability continuing to stifle the market and the Governmentâ€™s austerity measures on social housing and employment set to take effect. Turner added that despite the adverse weather conditions during Christmas period, a new wave of committed house sellers registered their homes for sale during December. â€˜New sales instructions out performed December 2009 levels by 2.6% – an overall increase of 9% during 2010. However, buyer enquiries fell 5% year-on-year, which could be attributed to the chronic lack of mortgage funding for those unable to afford a typical deposit of 22%â€™.