Mortgages

Half of landlords would not enter today's buy-to-let market

Four in 10 said they would still invest today if it was their first property despite current market conditions.

Rozi Jones
|
16th August 2019
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"Buy-to-let mortgages will continue to grow, although many are clearly worried about the current economic uncertainty and what might happen in a post-Brexit world."

Landlords say Government u-turns on the increase in stamp duty payable on additional property and on the phased-in cuts to mortgage interest tax relief would provide a significant stimulus to the buy-to-let and private rental sectors.

In a poll by Foundation Home Loans, 51% said both measures needed to be addressed in order to help build greater confidence in the sector. 22% said ‘Remaining in the EU’ would give the biggest boost, while conversely 14% said securing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would help most.

Four in 10 said they would still invest today if it was their first property despite current market conditions, saying buy-to-let remained a good long-term investment and could still deliver capital growth.

However, 50% said that due to Government intervention and regulatory changes, economic uncertainty, and a lack of returns, they would probably choose not to make a first investment decision now.

Even with an increase in the costs of running a buy-to-let portfolio, only one in four landlords said they intended to increase rents over the course of the next 12 months, while a majority of landlords believe they are renting out at least one of their properties below market rental value.

Jeff Knight, director of marketing at Foundation Home Loans, said: “It doesn’t seem surprising that the two biggest impacts on landlords over the past five years – stamp duty increases and cuts to mortgage interest tax relief – are seen as the biggest factors holding back the market. Clearly, such measures were always going to have a real influence and they have undoubtedly resulted in a large number of so-called amateur landlords either selling up, or not being able to go ahead and add to portfolios.

“On the flip side of this, we now have a sector which is much more in line with professional and portfolio landlords; utilising limited company vehicles to ensure they retain their tax relief, and where appropriate, adding to their portfolios via these structures. Because of this, the move towards greater levels of limited company business is likely to continue for many landlords, as I expect a u-turn is very unlikely despite fiscal loosening likely to be a strategy adopted in the very near future to stimulate a weakening economy.

“There is a continued appetite to be active in this sector and a recognition of the strong demand for quality properties from tenants. That being the case, and with a perhaps more sympathetic Government ear, we might anticipate that demand for mortgage advice and buy-to-let mortgages will continue to grow, although many are clearly worried about the current economic uncertainty and what might happen in a post-Brexit world.

“The other positive here is the long-term view taken by many landlords and the fact over four in 10 would still invest today if it was their first property. Given all the demographics and the underlying demand drivers for the private rental sector, advisers are still likely to see a steady stream of landlord clients seeking to remortgage and/or purchase, for many years to come. It continues to pay to be a specialist in this sector and Foundation is here to help advisers develop their buy-to-let propositions for the demand that is clearly still out there.”

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