Record numbers of landlords are now building their buy-to-let portfolios using cash, Countrywide claims.
Analysis by the agent shows that over the past 12 months, 65% of all homes bought by a landlord were paid for in cash, surpassing the previous high of 60% set in 2011.
It is the highest figure since Countrywide’s records began in 2007, a year when 60% of buy-to-let purchases were paid for with a mortgage.
Landlords buying with cash bought £21bn worth of homes which is £0.2bn more than in 2016 and a 32% increase on 2007 when they spent £15.9bn.
The research also showed that the annual rate of rental growth slowed from 1.1% in September to 0.5% in October, with the cost of the average new let in Britain at £958 per month.
Excluding London, however, where rental growth dipped back into negative territory, down 0.9%, rents rose 1.2% over the 12 months to October.
The midlands and Wales continued to be the drivers of rental growth, where rents rose 2.2% and 2.6% over the last year to £677 and £658 a month respectively.
Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “Landlords have increased their housing wealth considerably over the last 10 years. This means cash purchases are steadily becoming a bigger part of the market.
“But a landlord buying with cash will often have a mortgage either on their personal home or other properties in their portfolio. Rising prices have allowed landlords to take equity out of both their personal or other rental homes to expand their portfolios.
“Rental growth across northern England has slowed under pressure from record numbers of new landlords. But it’s a different story across the midlands and parts of the south where rents are once again nudging upwards.
“It looks like the last effects of the investor Stamp Duty surcharge have finally worked their way through the system.”