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Many UK homeowners are opting to rent out their properties rather than put them on the market, a study shows.

Findings from Unbiased.co.uk reveal that this is the case for nearly five million of the country’s homeowners, with a third of them not selling in fear of making a loss.

"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," commented Richard Winder, spokesperson for Unbiased.co.uk.

He added that at present, many landlords are reluctant to fall into the role but do so because they need more money.

This trend is hitting the younger generations hardest, according to the poll, with a quarter of 18 to 34-year-olds considering renting out their property.

Statistics on the number of mortgage possession actions launched in the county courts from the Ministry for Justice show that during the first quarter of 2009, 22,609 mortgage possession claims were issued on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

This is 42 per cent lower than in the first quarter of 2008 and 13 per cent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2008.

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