Chancellor George Osborne's forthcoming stamp duty surcharge will push up buy-to-let rental costs and trigger a decline in the supply of available properties.
UK letting agents fear it could put the brakes on the buy-to-let market, according to the February private rental sector report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
The new 3% surcharge comes into force on 1 April and has triggered a rush of investors looking to beat the deadline.
ARLA’s research shows that 52% of UK letting agents believe the new buy-to-let stamp duty reforms will push up rental costs, up from 47% in January.
Almost two thirds predict that supply will fall as landlords are pushed out of the market after April.
Nearly six in 10 ARLA members says rents will be pushed up once the stamp duty reforms have come into effect, as increased costs for landlords are passed through to tenants.
This is especially high in London, where almost three quarters of letting agents expect this to happen.
ARLA managing director David Cox said: “Although members are reporting a rush from landlords trying to snap up their buy-to-let investments now, it’s likely that we’ll see the market drop like a stone come April and probably not pick up again until next year.
“This will most certainly cause rents to increase, with supply dropping, as competition for the limited availability of properties intensifies.”