Countrywide’s lettings division surveyed its UK network of more than 200 branches and found that demand is outstripping supply with almost three tenants competing for every available property.
This is a 16% increase since Q4 2009.
The greatest increase in demand is in the North West which has an average of 2.7 tenants vying for each property.
Over 82% of Countrywide branches surveyed reported an increase in the number of tenants requesting short-term contracts.
John Hards, co-managing director at Countrywide Residential Lettings, says: “We are seeing a growing number of tenant enquiries from house hunters caught between house sales, having successfully sold their property but unable to find somewhere else to purchase.
“As buyers currently outweigh the number of properties on the market, house hunters looking for flexible solutions are being driven to the rental sector to bridge the gap.”
Countrywide predicts more buy-to-let investors will come to the market to make up for the shortage of rental homes in cities such as London.