Further decrease in reluctant landlords

ARLA's research shows that 60 per cent of its members' offices reported property being rented out rather than sold during Q3 2009. This number has dropped from 80 per cent in Q2 and 95 per cent in Q1.

These figures suggest that fewer homeowners are struggling to sell their property and being forced to rent it out - supporting industry-wide speculation that the housing market downturn is coming to an end.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager of ARLA, said: "The fact that the number of reluctant landlords has dropped once again, and supported by the rise in demand for buy-to-let, suggests that movement is beginning to occur across the market.

"What remains key is that all landlords - reluctant or otherwise - are fully aware of their obligations to their tenants, and of the importance of choosing a regulated and qualified letting agent."

In particular, 48 per cent of members in Prime Central London reported rental property coming onto the market because it cannot be sold, compared with 73 per cent last quarter.