The supply of rental property dropped year-on-year by 5%, leading letting agents to forecast a rise in rents over the next couple of months.

The average number of properties managed by a single branch decreased from 193 to 183 in the last 12 months, following data published by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

In the short-term, rental properties experienced a surge with buy-to-let landlords rushing to finish transactions before the new stamp duty surcharge came into effect on April 1. This increase drove a jump of 8% in properties managed per branch on a monthly basis in march, the highest level this year.

With the year-on-year drop in availability for rental properties, rents are now expected to rise as a consequence of the changes in stamp duty. A total of 66% of ARLA agents forecasts that the Government’s tax changes will lead to an increase in rental costs for tenants in the near future.

David Cox, managing director of the ARLA, said: “It’s likely that this increase in supply is only temporary. At the end of April we saw a flurry of landlords seizing the last few moments before the stamp duty rise to complete sales, triggering an increase in the supply of empty rental homes to be filled this month.”

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