Demand in the rental market is rising as some aspiring buyers put their plans on hold in case mortgage rates drop in the new year.
According to figures from Rightmove, the number of people looking for homes to rent is up 23% on this time last year.
Its research indicates the total number of home-movers in the market looking to rent or buy is just 1% lower than last year.
The portal’s survey found 42% of those with plans to get onto the housing ladder for the first time in the next few years already had their total deposit saved, while a further 43% are in the process of saving.
Following the autumn statement in which the government guaranteed stamp duty savings until 2025, there could be the impetus for these ready-to-go first time buyers to dip their toe in the market in the new year.
The number of smaller rental homes (studios, one and two bed properties) on the market is 4% lower than last year while in the sales market it is up 13%.
All these factors are putting further pressure on an already stock-depleted rental market, with an average of 36 enquiries per property as competition between tenants hit record levels this year.
The data suggests all this is leading some buyers to look at the rental market as a short-term alternative while they wait to see where mortgage rates will go.
Sheldon Bosley Knight’s lettings manager Josh Jones said: “The rental market has gone crazy over the past year with demand outstripping supply.
“Not only that rents have climbed steadily, putting them on a par with mortgage payments.
“While interest rates have risen in the last year and inflation has soared, we feel there is now a bit more stability in the market.
“We have also seen some lenders beginning to introduce sub 6% on five-year fixed rates which is great news and will bring relief to those who are looking to secure a favourable deal.
“As ever if we can help buyers or tenants find their dream home, please pop in and see us or call one of our branches.”