Monday 11 September 2017

Monthly Lettings Index – August 2017

Rental sector grows as Landlords expand portfolios

  • The average landlord portfolio size reaches a new high of 1.44 rented homes, up from 1.24 in 2010 (table 2)
  • But since 2015 the number of landlords has fallen by 154,000 despite 171,000 more rented homes. (table 1).  Meaning less landlords owning more homes.
  • Rents in Great Britain rose 1.6% year-on-year as rents in Greater London grew for the second consecutive month. (table 4)

Countrywide’s Monthly Letting Index for August, published today shows that the number of landlords has fallen over the last two years despite a rise in supply of homes available to rent.  Countrywide Research estimates that the number of landlords peaked at 3.72 million in 2015 when there were some 171,000 fewer rented homes than today.  In 2017 there are just over 154,000 fewer landlords (3.56 million in total) but the number of rented homes has increased from 4.9 million in 2015 to 5.1 million today. (table 1).

Today fewer landlords and more rental properties means the size of the average landlord’s portfolio is the biggest since Countrywide’s records began in 2005.  The average landlord owned 1.44 rented homes in 2017, up from 1.33 in 2015 and a low of 1.24 in 2010 (table 2).  In 2017, 73% of landlords owned one buy-to-let property, down from 86% in 2010 (table 2).  The number of landlords who own 10 or more homes has risen by a third (33%) in the last decade (2007 to 2017).

In 2017 landlords based in the North East are likely to own the most rental properties (1.54), followed by landlords based in Yorkshire and the Humber (1.52) and London (1.51)  (table 3).  While London based landlords are more than twice as likely to have a portfolio of 10 or more homes compared to landlords in any other region. 

Across Great Britain average rents for new lets rose to £954 pcm in August, up 1.6% on the same time last year (table 4).  Rents increased the most in the South West (4.7%), Scotland (2.8%) and East of England (2.5%) while London rents grew for the second consecutive month, up 1.8% year-on-year. (table 4).

Commenting on the analysis, Johnny Morris, Research Director at Countrywide, said:

“The increasing number of rented homes is being driven by landlords expanding their portfolios rather than new landlords entering the market.  Increasing regulation in the sector accompanied by recent changes to income tax relief on mortgage interest payments seem to be favouring more experienced, professional landlords.  Despite expanding portfolio sizes the sector is still characterised by those owning just one or two homes, 73% of landlords own one home.

“Rents rose in all regions across Great Britain to stand 1.6% up on the same time last year.  The number of landlord purchases continues to remain low which is feeding through into fewer homes on the rental market.  Rents in London rose for the second consecutive month, driven by a pickup in rents in outer London.”

About the Countrywide Lettings Index and new methodology

The Countrywide Lettings Index has been running since 2012 and we continually seek to improve its accuracy.  From June 2017 the methodology was changed to reduce the impact of seasonality and volatility in the rental market. 

While the index remains a mix adjusted series, rent and rental growth figures for each month are now based on a three month rolling average rather than lets agreed in the last month.  The most expensive decile of homes let has been excluded to reduce volatility and the mix has been updated to include the most recently published government stock statistics.

The Countrywide Lettings Index uses data from Great Britain's largest letting agent to track changes to the cost of renting.  The index is based on the 90,000 homes let and managed by Countrywide in each year, adjusting for their location and type.  It is based on achieved rather than advertised rents and the published monthly rental figures are an average of the new lets and renewals of tenancies over a rolling three month period.