A YORKSHIRE letting agency has posted the busiest month in its 18-year history.
The record is being seen as another strong signal that demand for rented property shows no sign of abating in Leeds and Yorkshire.
Linley & Simpson, with 11 offices across West and North Yorkshire, spearheaded by three in Leeds, secured a record 401 lets for its landlords during last month
The figures come as new research shows that the national average monthly rent has soared to an all-time-high of £816, compared to £768 the previous year, as demand continues to outstrip supply.
Low interest rates are forcing those seeking a greater return on their money to invest in the buy-to-let market.
Yet Yorkshire tenants can take heart that rental increases across the county have been far more measured, with the national average skewed by the sheer pace of growth in London which is not reflected here.
Nick Simpson, director of Linley & Simpson, said the climate was triggering an increase in investors turning to buy-to-let properties as a home for their money, with returns outperforming bank interest rates.
“Yorkshire very much remains in the throes of a rental boom,” he said.
“Investors are being spurred on by this high demand, wedded to new financial freedoms which allow money from pension pots to be channelled into property purchases for the first time.
“The resurgence of buy-to-let has been a dominant theme throughout 2015.
“And while this has improved availability, the increase in stock levels has not been able to move at the same pace as tenant demand in order to bridge this supply gap.
“Our own research shows that in many of our branch locations, such as Harrogate, York and Leeds, the number of people choosing to live in private rented accommodation is far higher than the national average. And it is a trend that is growing.”
As well as the entry of “new” landlords to the market, there has also been an upturn in the number of landlords looking to expand their portfolios, and maximising returns even further, by releasing equity in their current properties.
This continuing popularity of buy-to-let comes amid surprise tax changes introduced by Chancellor George Osborne in July’s budget, which will reduce the amount of mortgage interest payments being deducted from rental income when calculating a property’s taxable profit.
Mr Simpson added: “The market conditions show that this threat has failed to dampen the appeal of putting spare cash into property - with the prospect of both capital gains and a healthy rental return.”
Linley & Simpson, which manages Yorkshire’s largest portfolio of rental properties, has offices in Leeds city centre, Roundhay, Horsforth, York, Harrogate, Ripon, Harrogate, Wetherby, Ilkley, Wakefield and Saltaire.