Around one in nine (11%) homes listed for sale on Zoopla has previously been rented out, according to analysis by the property website.
This proportion has decreased from a recent peak of one in seven (14%) in 2020, when rental prices were falling in major cities such as London, Zoopla said.
The website suggested that some landlords are “looking to rationalise their portfolios in the face of higher mortgage rates”.
Its report said: “Five years ago, around half of these homes returned to the rental market as unsold or bought by another investor.
“However, this proportion has dropped to a third more recently.”
Ex-rental properties may be particularly appealing to first-time buyers, although in some cases they may need to be prepared to tackle a “doer-upper”.
They have average asking prices that are typically around a quarter lower than homes that have been lived in by owner-occupiers, Zoopla said, at £190,000 on average versus around £250,000.
The report added that a “build-up of market momentum this spring is likely to weaken in the second half of the year with the scale of the impact depending on how much borrowing costs increase”.
Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla said: “There are still fewer buyers in the market than a year ago, but sales are still being agreed, with more homes to choose from.
“Sellers shouldn’t get carried away by more positive data on the housing market and need to price their homes realistically if they are serious about moving home in 2023.
“Home buyers remain price sensitive with one eye firmly on the outlook for the economy, the cost of living and the trajectory of mortgage rates which appear likely to edge higher in the coming weeks.”
Guy Gittins, CEO of estate agent Foxtons said more renters who are in a position to buy have accelerated their search “given the extreme supply and demand imbalance in the lettings market”.
He added: “New buyer activity has led to consistently higher viewing numbers than we have seen at any point in the last six years.
“In fact, our buyer numbers year to date are tracking very closely with the buyer numbers this time last year, which most people would refer to as the most buoyant market we’ve seen since 2016. Our growing pipeline of business gives us every expectation that the rest of this year will continue along this positive track.”
Matt Thompson, head of sales at estate agent Chestertons said: “Despite economic uncertainty, the year started with an incredibly high number of house hunters wanting to find a property.”