Growing demand for rented property, combined with a falling supply has meant tenants must move quicker than ever to seal the deal.

The average time it takes to let a home dropped to a record low of 20 days during the first seven months of the year.

A combination of increased demand from tenants and falling supply as landlords exit the sector led to rental properties being snapped up quickly, according to Hamptons International.

While one-bedroom properties took the least time to let between 2014 and 2018, three-bedroom homes were moving quickest during the seven months to the end of July, suggesting a shift in tenant mix.

Unsurprisingly, the mismatch between supply and demand is pushing rents higher, with the cost of being a tenant rising by 1.9% in the year to July to average £982.

Why is this happening?

The rental market is currently experiencing strong demand as stretched affordability prices many people out of buying a home, while uncertainty over Brexit is causing others to put moving plans on hold.

Hamptons said it had seen a 5.6% increase in applications from potential tenants during the seven months to July.

At the same time, a combination of tax and regulatory changes have caused landlords to exit the sector and sell their properties, with Hamptons seeing a 5% fall in stock levels so far this year.

The fact that more tenants are chasing fewer properties has led to homes being let quicker.

Who does it affect?

The amount of time taken to find a tenant fell in every region of Great Britain during the first seven months of the year.

Finding tenants was quickest in the south west and East Midlands, at an average of just 18 days.

Landlords had to wait for the longest to find a tenant in the north east, but even here the process only took 24 days, and was still four days faster than it had been a year earlier.

London saw the biggest decline, with it taking just 19 days to let a property in the capital, six days quicker than during the same period of 2018, with properties in Hillingdon let within 9.5 days on average.

What’s the background?

Strong demand from tenants led to rents rising in nearly all regions of Great Britain.

Scotland saw the strongest year-on-year rise with rents increasing by 5.2%, followed by the south west at 4.7% and the south east at 4%. The Midlands was the only region to buck this trend, with rents decreasing by 2.7% in the past 12 months.

In terms of property types, the cost of renting a one-bedroom home rose by 2.8% year-on-year, compared with a 1.3% rise for three-bedroom homes.

Hamptons said this trend had contributed to more tenants looking to rent a larger property as a group, rather than a one-bedroom flat on their own.