A survey of RICS – Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - members nationwide predicts a rise in rents of 15% over the next five years.

The latest survey shows a continued reduction of new property being put on the market in the lettings sector.

RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “On the rental side demand is still strong across the whole of the South West.

“It continues to be one of the more sought-after areas. There is not enough supply.”

Lack of suitable homes was a factor in rent rises he added.

Recent Government policy and legislation changes have contributed to the decline with some smaller investor Buy To Let landlords pulling out of the sector.

The RICS survey provides a snapshot of the current state of the market.

“It’s a gut feel, which has proved effective over the years. We believe people working on the frontline are better able to judge the market than economists modelling from London, “ said Mr Rubinsohn.

The most striking feature of the latest survey is the continued reduction of new property being put on the market in the lettings sector with 9% more respondents seeing a fall rather than rise in new landlord instructions. This is the eighth consecutive quarter in which this indicator has recorded a negative number.