3 March 2011
Last updated at 08:17 ET
The cost of renting a home rose at a rapid rate in the three months to January, a poll of surveyors has found.
Some 40% more surveyors reported that rents rose rather than fell, the highest level recorded since the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) survey began in 1998.
Demand from tenants was growing, but they were chasing space in fewer properties, the poll found.
Separate research suggested that mortgage availability has shrunk again.
The only rise in the number of mortgage products available to choose from in March compared with February was for homebuyers offering a 40% deposit, financial information service Moneyfacts said.
For those paying smaller deposits, the choice was either the same or smaller than the previous month.
The proportion of social tenants had risen during tough economic times, the Rics residential lettings survey suggested.
Meanwhile, the proportion of student lettings had dipped compared with the previous three months, surveyors said.
Surveyors in all areas of Britain expected rents to continue to rise in the three months to April.
“It is unlikely that finance for first-time buyers will become much more readily available, while uncertainty over the economy may also deter potential homebuyers,” said Rics spokesman Jeremy Leaf.
“As a result, demand for property to rent will remain strong and in all probability will continue to outstrip supply. In this environment, rents will remain on an upward trajectory adding to the pressure on many households whose incomes are already being squeezed by rising inflation prices and the hike in VAT.”
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Rents on an ‘upward trajectory’