The number of landlords has fallen to a seven-year low.
Hamptons International estimates that there were 222,570 fewer private landlords last year than in 2017, when the number peaked at 2.88m.
The firm says that last year there were 2.66m landlords in the country, the lowest number in seven years when there were 2.58m.
However, the average landlord now owns more properties, with a portfolio of 1.93 buy-to-let properties, the highest level since 2009 when the average landlord owned 2.02 properties.
Last year, 30% of landlords owned more than one buy-to-let property, the highest proportion on record.
The figure is up from 21% in 2016, when many of the anti-landlord tax and regulatory changes were announced, says Hamptons.
The firm puts average rents for new lets at £998 per month in January, up 3.6% on the same month last year.
Rents rose most in the south-west, followed by the east and greater London.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “The number of landlords in the private rented sector has fallen to the lowest level in seven years.
“While 222,570 landlords have left the sector since 2017 due to tax and regulatory changes, those who have stayed tend to have bigger portfolios – a further sign that the sector is professionalising.”
She added: “The number of new homes purchased by landlords remains low, which is feeding through to fewer homes available to rent.
“This is particularly true in the south, where rents are rising the most.”
Average rent of new lets (pcm)
|Greater London||£ 1,714||£ 1,783||4.1%|
|South West||£ 784||£ 831||6.0%|
|South East||£ 1,037||£ 1,070||3.2%|
|East||£ 943||£ 982||4.1%|
|Midlands||£ 678||£ 694||2.4%|
|North||£ 625||£ 646||3.3%|
|Scotland||£ 639||£ 653||2.2%|
|Wales||£ 652||£ 659||1.2%|
|Great Britain||£ 963||£ 998||3.6%|
|Great Britain (Excluding London)||£ 770||£ 797||3.4%|