Crisis in homes for rent

New figures released by the leading online property rent portal have exposed a crisis in the supply of homes to rent in Scotland.

The Autumn Report by Lettingweb.com, which advertises around 13,000 homes every month on behalf of letting agents across Scotland, has revealed the largest discrepancy between homes being rented and new properties coming onto the market since records began. In November alone, well over 2000 fewer properties were advertised than were rented.

In further evidence of the increased demand, the time taken to let a property is falling. Between September and November, more than 25 percent of all advertised properties were rented within one week of being advertised; almost two-thirds were rented within one month.

Lettingweb.com believes that, while future reports will provide more concrete information, this supply crisis could be part of a long-term trend, with a lack of rental properties coming on stream to cope with the huge growth of the private rented sector, which in turn pushes up the price.

Steve Tigar, managing director of Lettingweb.com, said: “These are stark figures of the like we haven’t seen before. Renting privately is an increasingly popular choice for people in Scotland – sometimes out of necessity as a result of mortgage restrictions introduced after the banking crisis, but often as a lifestyle choice.

“The booming market for rental property is further confirmed by a rise of 22 percent in inquiries about properties through Lettingweb.com. This change cements our view that something very significant is happening.

“The flexibility of renting privately on relatively short-term leases which can be continued for many years, combined with the high quality of rental property available, makes renting an increasingly attractive option. This is true not just for the perceived core markets of students and young professionals, but also for families.

“However, we are seeing increasing evidence that the supply of rented accommodation simply isn’t there to meet this rising demand. This is a significant structural problem in the housing market and one that we would encourage all stakeholders including politicians, town planners, mortgage providers and house-builders to consider.”