Buy-to-let boost

Judienne Wood, national director at B&B said the top end of the rental market has seen a 66% rise in company lets, 20% increase in individual lets and 17% jump in expatriate lets compared with the same period a year ago. "Activity in this market has begun to move over the past few months," she said. "The corporate market, which disappeared in the Autumn of 2001, is now showing shoots of recovery."

Wood said the mid to lower ends of the letting market were also buoyant with first-time buyers priced out of homeownership deciding to rent. "With more tenants around we are finding more investors returning with confidence to purchase a property to rent out. New builds in particular are witnessing interest from this sector of the market."