FIGURES HIGHLIGHT WIDENING GAP BETWEEN AVAILABLE STOCK AND PEOPLE WANTING TO RENT

RENTING'S growing popularity has soared to new heights - with Yorkshire's biggest letting agent this week revealing that there is now an average of ten tenants registered for each home it has on its database.

This is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the sector but, for Linley & Simpson, the past month has seen the gap between available stock and people wanting to rent widen to record levels since it launched 15 years ago.

The company said these market conditions meant it was more important than ever to be a 'model tenant' as landlords were now being able to have the 'pick of the crop'.

Those applicants who were professionals in employment, coupled with an exemplary rental history and the ability to move quickly, increasingly had an advantage over those not able to boast such attributes.

And it repeated its call for the Government and the banks to take action now in a bid to stave off a problem that could have far-reaching consequences.

Linley & Simpson has witnessed a sharp upturn in tenant applications across all of its nine Yorkshire offices - with particular growth in Leeds, York, Harrogate and Wakefield.

Its Roundhay office - one of three it has in Leeds - reported a near 70pc increase in tenants actively looking for property compared to the same time last year.

"The dearth of properties reinforces what we predicted last year and, unless the Government introduce incentives or banks free up money for investors to breathe life back into the buy-to-let market, supply will continue to lag behind growing demand," said director Will Linley.

"About 15 per cent of the country are choosing to live in the private rented sector - but this is poised to grow by a third over the next few years. Unless stock levels start to increase at the same pace, more and more tenants will find it difficult to find a property and monthly rents will rise."

He added: "At any one time we have more than 400 available properties on our database that links all our offices - but more than ten times that number of people registered.

"It is a situation that is not common just to us - it is one that is reflected across the sector as a whole, particularly among those agencies like ours that operate in Yorkshire's most sought-after locations."

With the economic climate making it difficult for buyers to buy and for sellers to sell, more people are turning to renting - both out of choice and necessity. This underlying trend has risen in recent weeks as graduates enter the rental market and junior doctors begin their medical rotation moving to new hospitals.

The lack of new properties coming to market is compounded by a noticeable theme of tenants choosing to stay put and extend their rental agreements.


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