One in four estate agents has seen a rise in prospective landlords looking to buy before the 3% stamp duty comes in on second homes in April, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
The survey of 263 ARLA members also says that the new private rental tax regime will have negative effects on tenants, with 62% of respondents predicting price rises and 65% saying some landlords will be pushed out of the sector leading to a decrease in supply.
However there was some good news for tenants, with fewer agents reporting rent increases, with 18% reporting rises in December compared with 23% in November.
Both supply of properties as well as demand decreased in December. The survey reported a decrease of 15% in prospective tenants while the number of properties per branch decreased marginally from 182 from 189 in November.
David Cox, Managing Director of ARLA said: “As we’d expect in December, the UK saw a lull in activity, with people putting off any moves until January. The supply of housing stock was down, and fewer tenants were on the hunt for new properties. It’s reassuring to see the number of agents reporting rent increases is still on the decline – some encouraging news for tenants as we start 2016.
“With supply, demand and the number of agents reporting rent increases all declining in December, this could well be the calm before the buy-to-let storm. Buy-to-let landlords determined to complete purchases before the changes come into force in April are storming the UK housing market, meaning the lull we’d usually see is less significant.
“But subsequently, after April, we’re very likely to see the number of buy-to-let properties on the market begin to decrease, and this will most certainly have a detrimental effect on renters across the country.”