The number of reluctant landlords having to consider renting out their property or a room is soaring as a result of the financial downturn.
As the value of properties has fallen, almost five million homeowners are contemplating renting out their homes, with a third considering the option as they cannot afford to sell at a loss, according to unbiased.co.uk.
Homeowners in this position can take a crumb of comfort from figures released today which show asking prices have risen for the fourth consecutive month.
Consumers looking to rent rather than buy during this difficult period are in the enviable position of being able to take their pick from a bloated rental market, meaning they are in a good negotiating position in terms of how much rent they are willing to pay.
It is the younger generation of homeowners who have been hit hardest; a quarter of people in this category are considering renting out their property or taking on a lodger.
In addition, 280,000 homeowners are considering the rental route as they can't find a buyer in the current climate. A further 200,000 need the income from rent to enable them to buy elsewhere.
The National Landlord's Association estimates that as many as 43 per cent of landlords have come into the residential lettings market by chance.
Richard Winder, spokesperson for the website, observed: "The boom years created a wave of have-a-go landlords attracted by the promise of rising property prices and cheap buy to let finance.
"Now we're seeing a new wave who may end up reluctant landlords because they need more money and they don't want to sell up in the current market."
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