The letting agent and property services company registered 48,332 new tenants in Q1, up 36% from the same time last year.
March alone has seen the highest number of tenant registrations at Countrywide since 2004.
According to Countrywide, on average there are now 4.9 tenants competing for every property compared to 2.9 tenants in January 2010.
John Hards, co-managing director at Countrywide Residential Lettings, says: “Demand for rental properties has rocketed over the last few months and the shortage of properties is pushing up demand across the country.
“Buy-to-let landlords are using this as an opportunity to increase their property portfolios as rental yields improve in key locations, which is helping with the severe shortage of supply in many locations.”
In the South West competition for two-bedroom properties is tough, with 10.5 tenants vying for each property.
Two-bedroom properties are demand in the South East as 6.8 tenants compete for every available property.
Meanwhile three-bedroom homes are most in demand in the North West with an average of 3.6 tenants to each property.