EDINBURGH, Scotland, January 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The increasing number of Scots home seekers looking to rent rather than buy has sent Scottish lettings website Citylets soaring to the top of the online property charts.
Figures released today show more than 3.3 million visitors logged onto Citylets in 2012 - an increase of 12.5% on 2011.
According to competitive intelligence business, Experian Hitwise, that (along with a near 50% visitor share over the last six months) has made Citylets the most visited residential lettings site in Scotland - and across the UK.
Commenting on the results, Thomas Ashdown, founder and MD of Citylets, said they reflected both a growth in the rental market in Scotland and an increasing market share won by the Citylets site.
"An ever increasing number of Scots see renting as tenure for the medium term. It's no longer a quick stepping stone to home ownership," he explained.
"A combination of lack of mortgage availability and uncertainly over future house prices underpins demand. As a result, we have seen our visitor numbers treble in five years."
Rents in Scotland's urban centres haven't yet risen to significantly outstrip inflation. However Ashdown predicted this may come to pass in some parts of the country - sooner rather than later.
"We're seeing very high demand in Edinburgh and Aberdeen in particular for quality rented accommodation," he said.
"With tenants staying longer in rented property, this squeeze on supply is starting to be felt in Scotland's rental hotspots."
Some commentators say the recent banning of all fees letting agents can charge tenants, other than rent and deposits, will contribute to upward pressure on rents. Ashdown agreed.
"As agents adjust to the new landscape, it is likely rents in urban hotspots will rise more sharply now than in recent quarters," he said.
"I believe Edinburgh and Aberdeen will see relatively significant rent increases this year. Our next market report will be out in later in January."
The number of agents listing on the Citylets site also grew by 13.3% in 2012, which Ashdown attributed to a, "Successful year at the office," rather than representing an influx of new agents capitalising on the strong demand.
He added, "With all the legislative change, I think 2012 will go down as a year when many agents felt like leaving the sector, not diving in!"
Citylets, however signed an exclusive media partnership with Scottish TV last June.
Since then, according to Ashdown, over 1000 TV ads for Citylets have been aired, many co-branded with STV for the promotion of their STV Local group of sites.
"The media partnership with STV is a significant development for Citylets," he said.
"We've aired over 1000 TV ads in 2012 and this has contributed to a rise in our market share. In the latter half of 2012, almost 50% of all website visitors to mainstream Scottish letting sites went to Citylets.co.uk."
Ashdown has promised to deliver a range of unique innovations in 2013 for both consumers and agents to meet his ambition for Citylets to remain the UK's most visited residential lettings site.
Contact: Sean Hamilton, Phone number : +44(0)1382525227, firstname.lastname@example.org