The number of UK landlords has fallen over the last two years - even though there are more homes available to rent than ever before - meaning the buy-to-let investors that remained have larger property portfolios.

New data from Countrywide estimates that the number of landlords peaked at 3.72m in 2015 when there were around 171,000 fewer rented homes than today.

Two years later, there are just over 154,000 fewer landlords (3.56m in total) but the number of rented homes has increased from 4.9m in 2015 to 5.1m today.

The average landlord owned 1.44 rented homes in 2017, up from 1.33 in 2015 and well above the low of 1.24 back in 2010.

This year, 73 per cent of landlords own one buy to let property, down from 86 per cent in 2010, while the number of landlords owning 10 or more homes has risen by a third in the last decade.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “The increasing number of rented homes is being driven by landlords expanding their portfolios rather than new landlords entering the market. Increasing regulation in the sector accompanied by recent changes to income tax relief on mortgage interest payments seem to be favouring more experienced, professional landlords."

It’s a trend that we’re seeing at Simple Landlords Insurance, too. Head of Operations Alex Huntley added: “Part time or accidental landlords have been hit the hardest by changes to the market, and it’s those who are deliberate and growing investors who are adapting best to the change - and continuing to make a profit from property.

“It will be interesting to see how the private rented sector continues to change over the coming months - especially as such a large proportion of landlords have single properties.”

Indeed, an estimated 73% of landlords own just one home, making up nearly three quarters of the market.

In 2017 landlords based in the North East are likely to own the most rental properties (1.54) followed by landlords based in Yorkshire and the Humber (1.52) and London (1.51).

London-based landlords are more than twice as likely to have a portfolio of 10 or more homes compared to landlords in any other region.