There has been a notable increase in the number of renters turning to lettings agents to find a new property, research from Zoopla’s State of the Property Nation reveals.
According to the data provided by the property website, almost half - 48% - of tenants used a letting agent to source accommodation this year, a major uplift from the 36% recorded in the 2017 edition of the report.
In a sign that demand for rented accommodation remains strong, 62% of the 6,000 people surveyed by Zoopla said they expect to rent for at least the next three years. Of these, 23% said they are likely to rent indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the proportion of home owners letting out properties rose from 2.4% in 2016 to 4.2% this year.
But the research shows that landlords are still facing a number of challenges in the existing environment.
Some 56% of landlords surveyed said that their biggest challenge is finding suitable tenants. The next biggest challenge for landlords is ensuring tenants look after the property (55%) and making sure they pay their rent on time (47%).
Almost four in ten - 39% - landlords confessed to struggling to keep up with increased regulation, while slightly more than a third - 36% - are concerned about how future legislation will affect them.
Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla’s property division, commented: “It’s certainly a challenging time for lettings agents with the ban on lettings fees looming. However, our research shows that demand for agents’ services and rented accommodation are strong and that should come as a welcome boost.
“As the market becomes more regulated and complex, the lettings agents that adopt a more consultative approach with both their landlord and their tenant clients to help navigate them through will gain an advantage.”
Bryant added: “Staying ahead of the changing market and new rules is becoming more important than ever, and those who do it best are set to thrive. We are an agent focused business and so our job at Zoopla is to assist agents as much as we can in doing that by providing unrivalled data, insights, support with our products and services and, most of all, value for money.”