According to data released by property group Countrywide, demand for rental properties jumped by 37% in 2010.
New tenants for 2010 were recorded at 200,000; the highest since the company started record keeping in 2003.
New tenant registrations were up by 14% in Q4, 2010 over the same period a year ago. Also, time taken to rent a new property has dropped to 15 days from 20 days witnessed in 2009.
The South West of the country saw the highest demand with 5.9 tenants for each property in the fourth quarter, while the national average of demand-per-property was recorded at 4.4 across UK during the same period.
However, the average number of properties available for rental fell by 29%, triggering a severe shortfall, its agents reported.
Demand for two bedroom homes were the highest in the fourth quarter of 2010. The market witnessed a marginal growth in supply of 3 and 4 bedroom properties in Q4 as supply was up at 3% compared to 2% recorded over the same period in 2009.
“The rental market has seen record levels of demand in 2010. In the final quarter, whilst we experienced the traditional slowdown, the continuing demand saw many properties in prime locations with new tenants secured within hours of coming onto the market”, said John Hards, Co-Managing Director of Countrywide Residential Lettings.