The number of homes for sale has plummeted while demand soars and experts predict next year will see more homes let than sold for the first time since the 1930s.

BTL investors rushed to snap up property before the Stamp Duty surcharge of April and boosted the number of rental properties – particularly in Northern cities.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, commented on data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) which showed the number of homes for sale was close to historic lows.

Falling stock and growing demand are driving rental growth at a higher rate in Northern cities than in the south, he says, as Brexit-induced uncertainty has “continued to boost the rental market."

“September saw record activity with increasing numbers of lets agreed and tenants choosing to renew their contracts,” he said.

According to Countrywide’s monthly lettings index, rental growth slowed over the last 12 months while price growth in northern cities has remained the same.

Cities in Northern England and Scotland have seen the cost of new lets rise the fastest, with Manchester leading the pack as rents increased by a healthy 7.1 per cent.

Oxford, Cambridge and London suffered the largest slowdowns in growth, with rents rising as little as 1.8 per cent.

The Rics UK Residential Market survey also found a slight rise in buyer demand for the first time since February across a varied countrywide backdrop.

Despite this, the number of new instructions continued to fall, with the average level of stock on estate agents books remaining close to historic lows.