The demand for private rental properties increased by 19 per cent in January 2018 in the UK even as supply fell by 8 per cent.

According to the latest Private Rented Sector Report from ARLA, there have been more number of inquiries for rented homes in the UK since the beginning of 2018. The letting agents registered 70 house-hunters per member branch in January 2018, compared to just 59 in December 2017.

It meant that the gap between supply and demand widened in January with more prospective tenants coming onto the market. However, the supply side is facing pressure, as the number of homes entering the private rented sector is falling. This will invariably lead to increase in rents for prospective tenants.

The number of properties managed by letting agents fell by eight per cent in January, with 184 managed per branch compared to 200 in December, ARLA data showed. This is the lowest level since last October when letting agents managed 182 per branch on average.

Meanwhile, the number of tenants experiencing rent rises increased as landlords kicked off the new year with contract negotiations. Tenants experiencing rate hikes in January increased to 19 per cent and there are indications of an upward trend.