Record lows for UK lettings market

Following a robust lettings market in April, May’s figures from the Agency Express Property Activity Index have shown a sharp decline in both ‘To Let’ and ‘Let’ properties. New listings sat at -11.90% and properties ‘Let’ sat at -11.10%, marking the largest month on month decline for May since the indexes first records in 2012.

Recent reports from the Council of Mortgage Lenders have also confirmed that gross buy-to-let lending dipped in April after the rush in activity to beat the stamp duty changes.  So while this month’s figures appear dramatic they do remain somewhat distorted by the stamp duty changes. 

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, commented: There is a sense of calm after the storm this month, as lending eased back, following the significant rises in activity in March as borrowers looked to beat the second property stamp duty deadline. We expect the market to take several months to return to its previous levels after the lending surge.

Looking at performance across the rest of the UK, all of the twelve regions recorded by the Property Activity Index reported declines in new listings ‘To Let’ and ten regions recorded a drop in properties ‘Let’.

Some of this months better performing regions included:

Properties ‘To Let’

  • Scotland -4.10%
  • West Midlands -4.20%
  • Wales -5.20%
  • Central England -6.70%
  • North West -8.60%

Properties ‘Let By’

  • South East 10.10%
  • Scotland 4.10%
  • East Anglia -3.70%
  • East Midlands -10.50%
  • North East -10.60%

This month’s top performer was the South East recording an increase of 10.1% in properties ‘Let’ and a record best for May.  Buoyant figures were also returned by Scotland, properties ‘Let’ in increased for a  fifth consecutive month sitting at 4.1%.   

The largest decline reported in this month’s Property Activity Index was recorded by the East Midlands with ‘To Let’ figures sitting at a record low of -29.9%.

Commenting on the Property Activity Index Lettings Report, Stephen Watson Managing Director of Agency Express said:  The Property Activity Index historically shows us  a drop in figures throughout May.  However this month we have seen a much greater fall than in years previous. An unseasonal rush in activity throughout March, followed by a reactive dip in April and reduced lending has certainly blurred Mays figures.  Now with the impending EU referendum it may be some time before we see a more balanced view of the UK lettings market.

Monthly % Changes for May 2016

% Changes for Mar - May 2016

New Listings
% Change over last 12 months vs Previous 12 months

Properties Let
% Change over last 12 months vs Previous 12 months

New Listings Properties Let
May 16 May 15 May 16 May 15
NATIONAL -11.9 -0.1 -11.1 1.2
Central England -6.7 3.9 -11.3 15.1
East Anglia -9.7 -0.9 -3.7 -8.3
East Midlands -29.9 -10.1 -10.5 14.3
London -14.2 6.6 -31.8 2.2
North East -13.8 3.3 -10.6 13.5
North West -8.6 -8.8 -14.1 5.9
Scotland -4.1 12.9 4.1 4.7
South East -16.9 5.7 10.1 6.6
South West -10.6 0.8 -14.3 -7.5
Wales -5.2 -4.7 -20.7 24.6
West Midlands -4.2 -7.6 -14.3 -4.8
Yorks & Humber -20.2 1.4 -10.6 -8.9
New Listings Properties Let
Mar -
Apr 16
Mar -
May 15
Mar -
May 16
Mar -
May 15
NATIONAL -0.1 -2.9 -2.1 -4.8
Central England 3.6 1.8 -2.6 -4.4
East Anglia -0.9 -4.5 0 -5.1
East Midlands -0.3 -7.1 0.3 -6.5
London -1.7 -1.7 -3.8 -6.9
North East -2.7 0.5 -2.9 9.8
North West 2.4 -5.6 -0.9 -8.1
Scotland -0.9 4.7 4.4 10.2
South East -3.6 -4.1 1.6 -2.6
South West 2.6 -0.7 -8.8 -4.2
Wales 2.2 -5.8 -5.3 -7.3
West Midlands -1.4 -8.3 -0.8 -7.3
Yorks & Humber -1 -0.9 -1.7 -5.8
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