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Accidental landlords add 80,000 rented homes to the market

A slower sales market in the south of England has revived the accidental landlord as more people chose to rent their properties out this year instead of waiting for a sale, according to the latest Countrywide plc Monthly Lettings Index show.

Around 80,000 homes that came onto the rental market in 2017 had been up for sale within the previous six months, led by London where 12.5% of homes coming onto the rental market had previously been up for sale.

With a stronger sales market outside the capital, would-be sellers across the rest of Great Britain are far less likely to put their home up for rent.

Compared with traditional landlords, accidental landlords tend to stay in the rental sector for a much shorter period of time.  While the average buy-to-let investor owns their rental property for 17 years, the typical accidental landlord rents out their home for an average of just 15 months, Countrywide said.

In fact, the property firm report that almost nine in 10 - 89% - of accidental landlords put their property back up for sale after the first tenant moves out, rather than looking for a new tenant.

According to Countrywide, the annual rate of rental growth picked up in November, with the cost of a new let across Great Britain increasing by 1.2% over the last 12 months, led by gains in the Midlands (2.8%) and Northern England (2.3%).

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “While most landlords are in the business by choice, the last three years have seen an increase in the numbers letting out a property they had previously tried to sell.  With mortgage rates remaining low, these discretional sellers can afford to let their home, while they wait and see what the future holds for the sales market. 

“Rental growth in London is once again positive.  Every region of Great Britain now has average rents higher than a year ago.  And it likely that relatively low numbers of rental homes coming onto the market will keep rental growth firmly in positive territory.  But growth remains well below the long run average, with November 2017 marking the second year anniversary of the date when rents last rose by more than 3%.”

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