Demand to rent homes in the U.K. rose in the fourth quarter...

Demand to rent homes in the U.K. rose in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in nine years

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Demand to rent homes in the U.K. rose in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in nine years, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said.

A balance of 30 percent of surveyors reported tenant lettings increased in the last three months of the year, the highest since the survey began in 1998, the institution said today in London. Demand for houses outpaced apartments, with the balance reaching 34 percent, the highest since 1999.

“Tenant demand will continue to rise as long as economic conditions remain strong,” said Jeremy Leaf, a spokesman at the institution, in a statement. “The rental market will remain a property purgatory for many would-be buyers unless accessibility and affordability conditions improve significantly.”

The fastest economic growth in two years in 2006 created a record number of jobs in the U.K., attracting a wave of immigrant workers from Eastern Europe and spurring demand for housing. House prices rose about 10 percent last year and the number of first-time buyers fell to a 26-year low, according the HBOS Plc, the country’s biggest mortgage lender.

Property advertised by new landlords, a gauge of buy-to-let investment activity, had an index reading of 10, indicating that more surveyors saw an increase in advertisements than a decline. Still, gross yields on that investment fell at the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2004.

Source: Bloomberg