The last decade has seen buy to let investors double their property portfolios, with one in five UK properties now owned by landlords.
The research from Paragon suggests two million private landlords now own and rent out five million homes.
This means 18 per cent of households are now renting, while a further one million homes are expected to be purchased by buy to let investors during the next five years.
Meanwhile, government figures suggest that one in three properties will be owned by private landlords by 2032.
Paragon’s report – titled 18 Years of Buy to Let – used information from many different sources and looked at the development of mortgages aimed at private landlords since their introduction in 1996.
In that period the number of properties owned via buy to let has nearly doubled, with the total amount of property worth in the region of £1 trillion.
Buy to let was extremely popular in the run up to the financial crisis and the mortgage drought that followed only swelled the numbers of people looking to rent.
Low interest rates also favoured landlords, making it possible to hold on to property even with negative equity.
In recent years the number of products available to landlords has increased at a rapid pace, with more than 700 now available.
Mortgage lending has also risen at more than 20 per cent per year, with Paragon claiming buy to let to be a “force for good”.
“It has helped to shape a private rented sector that is fit for purpose and provides choice, value and flexibility for tenants,” stated the report.
Demand for rented accommodation is pushing up rents across the country, with the latest Buy to Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains showing rents reached a record high in September.
A similarly positive picture is painted by Countrywide, whose latest research showed rents are up in all regions of the UK on an annual basis.