UK residential rents fell in February for the first time in several months according to the latest data from LSL Property Services (owner of Your Move and the Reeds Rains agency network). Prior to February the index had shown strong growth in rents across the country for several months.
However, most analysts agree that this is a blip rather than the start of a long term trend. This is because the fall coincides with a witnessed rush on sales involving first time buyers as they race to beat the deadline for the stamp duty concession, which ends on March 24th.
The fact that many first time buyers have been forced to rent has helped fuel the recent rent rises, but as with all similar policies to get them back, the stamp duty concession brought a short term rush near its deadline, rather than a steady flow of first time buyers back into the sales market.
According to the latest data from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors the race to beat the deadline has taken home sales to an 18 month high. Data released by the Bank of England at the end of February confirmed the trend, stating that 58,728 mortgages for house purchase were approved in January, the highest amount since December 2009 and higher than the previous six months average of 52,839.
David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said: "The looming spectre of the end of the stamp duty holiday has taken its toll on tenant competition in the run-up to the deadline, easing the upwards pressure on rents.
"In February an increased number of tenants either became owner-occupiers or seriously considered property purchase, rather than renewing their contract or seeking a different rental property."
- Monday 19 March 2012