London: Plummeting house sales and depleted mortgage markets have led to a surge in demand for rented housing in Britain, tempting many frustrated home sellers into renting, the Residential Lettings Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed on Tuesday.

The survey showed agent instructions to let homes increased at the fastest pace in the survey's 10-year history last quarter, as sellers withdrew houses and flats from the sales market and placed them on the lettings market, pending improvement in buyer demand.

Forty-three per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise than a fall in landlord instructions, compared to 30 per cent in the previous quarter, the report said.

Surveyors said prospective sellers were keen to exploit growing demand for rented homes as would-be-buyers remained in rented accommodation after finding their home-owning dreams thwarted by anaemic mortgage markets.

Thirty-seven per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise than a fall in tenant lettings, up from 30 per cent in the last quarter.

Rents have continued to rise while house prices fall, driving gross rental income yields upwards and persuading landlords to hold onto their buy-to-let assets until house prices begin to rise again.