2016 was rather less than dull in the geo-political sphere. Brexit in June. Trump elected US President in November. Yet despite all the turmoil, the Scottish PRS has in general followed a very set path throughout.

The national rate of growth of the Scottish PRS has remained around 2% at each quarter throughout 2016. This has been determined by set trajectories within the country's main residential letting markets.

Indeed, the latest Scottish Household Survey (2015) also confirms the continued growth of the Scottish PRS which now represents 14% of all households at 350,000, up threefold since the survey's inception in 1999.

Private rented accommodation is now the 2nd largest tenure behind owner occupied but ahead of Local Authority (320,000) and Housing Association (240,000). A notable 41% of 16-34 year olds now rent privately and it is the dominant tenure for that age demographic overtaking owner occupation.

Rents in Scotland's capital city have continued to rise at around 7% throughout 2016, driven by a chronic imbalance between supply and demand. The time taken to let a property, another good market indicator, was recorded as just 20 days at Q3 with 41% of 1 bed properties let within a week and 87% let within a month. Anecdotal evidence from agents in the city support these figures noting an increased sense of urgency from tenants in their attempts to secure a suitable property. Not happy times for tenants, but of course good for landlords. Rents in the city passed through the £1000 average mark in the 3rd quarter and look set to keep rising in 2017.

Glasgow also had a positive year with average rents rising continuously and increasingly at between 4% and 7%. Again the popular smaller properties have been moving very quickly providing further indication that the Glasgow market is now as buoyant as Edinburgh in terms of both speed and growth rate.

Aberdeen ended the year on a relative high. Annual growth started the year at minus 20% and eased in the year up towards minus 14% - clear evidence that the market is now leveling off. This was supported by Time to Let figures which peaked at Q1 and reduced towards the latter part of the year. Average rents in Aberdeen have been edging downwards for over two years and look set to equal the national average sometime in 2017.

Elsewhere, West Lothian was noticeably buoyant - particularly for larger 3 and 4 bed properties - with growth rising from around 1% at the start of the year to around 6% at the end. Family homes, as elsewhere around the country, have been in strong demand as the demographic of the Scottish PRS continues to change at pace to represent an increasingly wide group of people. There are tens of thousands of households with children who will be particularly welcoming of the new legislation in 2018 which provides greater security of tenure. However, it remains to be seen how this will impact on landlord sentiment and rental supply in Scotland's major conurbations.

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