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Hundreds of buy-to-let mortgages withdrawn due to coronavirus

Online buy-to-let mortgage broker, Property Master, has warned that landlords will struggle to get mortgages as lenders pull product ranges, tighten lending criteria and widen margins, due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Some lenders have chosen to exit the buy-to-let mortgage market altogether for the foreseeable future.

These include Saffron Building Society, which offered a range of mortgages including for portfolio and limited company landlords, The Melton Mowbray Building Society and Barclays has withdrawn all products for portfolio landlords.

Together Money and Vida Homeloans have suspended lending in both the buy-to-let and residential products.

Tracker buy-to-let mortgages are being taken off the market. In recent days The Mortgage Works and HSBC have both withdrawn their tracker mortgages for the foreseeable future.

Lending criteria are being tightened

In recent times some lenders have been prepared to lend up to 85% of the value of a buy-to-let property. Fewer are prepared to do so now as fears grow of falling property prices.

Kensington Mortgages, for example, is one of those lenders that has reduced maximum loan-to-value lending criteria down from 85% to 75%.

Widening margins

Whilst landlords might expect a lower Bank of England base rate will lead to lower mortgage rates this is not always proving to be the case.Lenders concerned about the increased risk of tenants defaulting on rents and falling property prices may well choose to widen their margins and increase the cost of borrowing.

Some lenders have increased rates despite the 0.65% fall in base rate where margins as a result have increased by about 1%.

Comment

Angus Stewart, Property Master’s chief executive, said: “The competitive and attractive buy-to-let mortgage market appears to be going into reverse as the impact of the coronavirus begins to bite.

“Landlords are finding that their borrowing options are being drastically reduced as lenders respond to this new record low base rate environment and fears of falling house prices by withdrawing entire product ranges.

“We have had clients mid-way through a mortgage application only to find the process is halted and the product withdrawn before they can reach completion and the release of funds.”

“We can well imagine the difficulties lenders are facing when it comes to valuing properties and properly pricing risk. But we would urge them to continue to support landlord customers, especially those who were moving successfully through the mortgage application process and would otherwise have expected to be shortly in receipt of a loan.

“Similarly, we would urge banks to stand by the commitment made by the Government to provide payment holidays to landlord customers struggling as the current crisis impacts on the ability of tenants to pay their rent.”

By Joanne Atkin

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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Hundreds of buy-to-let mortgages withdrawn due to coronavirus

Online buy-to-let mortgage broker, Property Master, has warned that landlords will struggle to get mortgages as lenders pull product ranges, tighten lending criteria and widen margins, due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Some lenders have chosen to exit the buy-to-let mortgage market altogether for the foreseeable future.

These include Saffron Building Society, which offered a range of mortgages including for portfolio and limited company landlords, The Melton Mowbray Building Society and Barclays has withdrawn all products for portfolio landlords.

Together Money and Vida Homeloans have suspended lending in both the buy-to-let and residential products.

Tracker buy-to-let mortgages are being taken off the market. In recent days The Mortgage Works and HSBC have both withdrawn their tracker mortgages for the foreseeable future.

Lending criteria are being tightened

In recent times some lenders have been prepared to lend up to 85% of the value of a buy-to-let property. Fewer are prepared to do so now as fears grow of falling property prices.

Kensington Mortgages, for example, is one of those lenders that has reduced maximum loan-to-value lending criteria down from 85% to 75%.

Widening margins

Whilst landlords might expect a lower Bank of England base rate will lead to lower mortgage rates this is not always proving to be the case.Lenders concerned about the increased risk of tenants defaulting on rents and falling property prices may well choose to widen their margins and increase the cost of borrowing.

Some lenders have increased rates despite the 0.65% fall in base rate where margins as a result have increased by about 1%.

Comment

Angus Stewart, Property Master’s chief executive, said: “The competitive and attractive buy-to-let mortgage market appears to be going into reverse as the impact of the coronavirus begins to bite.

“Landlords are finding that their borrowing options are being drastically reduced as lenders respond to this new record low base rate environment and fears of falling house prices by withdrawing entire product ranges.

“We have had clients mid-way through a mortgage application only to find the process is halted and the product withdrawn before they can reach completion and the release of funds.”

“We can well imagine the difficulties lenders are facing when it comes to valuing properties and properly pricing risk. But we would urge them to continue to support landlord customers, especially those who were moving successfully through the mortgage application process and would otherwise have expected to be shortly in receipt of a loan.

“Similarly, we would urge banks to stand by the commitment made by the Government to provide payment holidays to landlord customers struggling as the current crisis impacts on the ability of tenants to pay their rent.”

By Joanne Atkin

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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Government extends mortgage payment holiday to BTL

The government has announced a raft of measures to protect renters and landlords during the Covid-19 crisis, including extending the three-month mortgage payment holiday to buy to let investors and stopping evictions.

Last night (March 18), the government confirmed that landlords will also be able to apply for a three-month payment holiday on buy to let mortgages under emergency coronavirus legislation.

This move has been welcomed by landlord organisations, the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association, which said the payment holiday “will take a lot of pressure off landlords enabling them to be as flexible as possible with tenants facing difficulties with their rent payments”.

As part of the legislation housing secretary Robert Jenrick also announced that private tenants could not be evicted from their homes for at least three months if they are struggling to pay their rent.

At the end of this three-month period, the government expects landlords and tenants to work together to “establish an affordable repayment plan” which takes into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

Mr Jenrick MP said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.

“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”

There will also be no new possession proceedings through applications to the court starting during the crisis.

During prime minister’s questions yesterday, Boris Johnson said the government was prepared to bring forward emergency legislation to protect private renters from eviction.

At the time he said: “We will be bringing forward legislation to protect private renters from eviction, that is one thing we will do but it is also important as we legislate that we do not pass on the problem so we will also be taking steps to protect other actors in the economy.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of letting agent Benham and Reeves, said: “We’re all for state support at a time of crisis however there’s a significant unintended consequence of this announcement and that is the fact tenants now have nothing to lose if they simply stop paying their rent.

“It will simply be used as a literal get out of jail free card for all of the UK’s 16m or so private and social housing tenants and this could leave a path of destruction within the rental market if not correctly implemented and monitored.

“Let’s see what the details reveal but at first glance, this perhaps goes too far unless there are specific criteria that must be met and proven before tenants stop paying and landlords claim their mortgage holiday.

“Ultimately, landlords will still have to pay as this approach is a deferral, not a let off. How will they recoup the rent if tenants are unable or simply refuse to pay it?”

The developments come after chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Tuesday a £330bn war chest of loans to protect businesses against the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus.

He also announced mortgage lenders would be forced to provide up to three months’ relief from mortgage payments to consumers who needed it.

This dwarfed the £30bn of government funds announced at the Budget last week.

Meanwhile the spreading coronavirus crisis has caused global markets to tumble as governments across the world shut their borders, locked down domestic travel and closed sports and leisure facilities.

The prime minister has urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contact, to work from home where possible, and to stay away from pubs and restaurants.

Schools will be shut from Friday afternoon onwards and will remain closed until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus.

By Amy Austin

Source: FT Adviser

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Coronavirus Could Cost Buy to Let Landlords Nearly £14.9bn

The latest research by Deposit Replacement Scheme, Ome, has found that the impact of the Coronavirus could cost buy to let landlords nearly £14.9bn should tenants be unable to pay rent during the three month support period announced by the government yesterday.

Last night the government announced that they would suspend new evictions and halt new possessions proceedings to the court while the Coronavirus crisis persists. They have also protected landlords as well as tenants with a three-month mortgage payment holiday on buy to let mortgages.

However, if tenants simply can’t pay, this holiday will do little to help landlords who will still have to pay once the three months is up, with or without the rental income from their tenants.

Ome’s research shows that there are 5.2m households currently within the private rental sector alone and without the ability to work and pay their rent, the buy to let sector could see a loss of £4.97bn every month based on the average monthly rent of £955 alone. Over three months this climbs to a huge £14.9bn.

Nationally, this lost income is highest in England with potentially £11.6bn lost in rental income, while London is home to the biggest sum regionally with a potential £4.9bn lost in three months alone.

What does this mean for the average landlord?

There are some 2.6m landlords operating within the UK buy to let sector meaning the average landlord has a portfolio of two rental properties. With an average rent of £955 and a loss of three months’ rental revenue across both properties, they could be facing an individual £5,730 shortfall in rental income.

With a ratio of 2.1 properties per landlord in Scotland, the loss is at its greatest at £6,146 over three months with Northern Ireland also high at £6,083.

Not only does this huge sum have implications on a sector that has already seen its financial return stretched by the government, but it could see tenants out of pocket even further should landlords look to keep their tenancy deposit to account for lost rental income.

Co-founder of Ome, Matthew Hooker, commented:

“It’s great news that the government are providing some financial respite for the nation’s landlords, however, it’s more of a weekend away than a holiday and once expired, UK landlords are still facing the cost of a buy to let mortgage without the rental income to pay it.

It’s by no means the fault of the tenant if they are unable to pay but there is a very real chance that landlords will turn to the rental deposits at the end of a tenancy in order to recoup this lost rent. While this would be unfair on a tenant who has otherwise kept the property in good order, it may well be the case that landlords are simply left with no choice.

The silver lining at least is that hopefully, not all tenants will be unable to pay their rent and so this sum of lost rental income should reduce, but whichever way you look at it, the UK rental sector is in for a tough few months.”

By Chris McColgan

Source: Business News Wales

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Should buy-to-let landlords switch to holiday letting?

Recent research reveals thousands of landlords have switched from long-term to holiday letting, but will they be better off financially?

Over the past three years, landlords have gradually lost the ability to deduct mortgage interest costs from their turnover before calculating their tax bill.

From April, they will not be able to deduct any finance costs from their property earnings and will instead receive only basic-rate tax relief on these costs.

The tax change, together with a number of regulatory changes in the sector, including the Tenant Fees Act, has led many landlords to consider selling their properties.

Others, however, are instead looking to switch strategy with holiday or short-term letting becoming one of the key areas of interest.

According to a report by letting agent professional body ARLA Propertymark earlier this year, nearly 50,000 properties have been changed from long-term letting to short-term letting.

Its research, which was carried out by Capital Economics, found that a further 10% of landlords were considering offering short-term lets in the future.

What’s the appeal?

There are several reasons landlords may be thinking about holiday lets but a big one is tax.

Subject to meeting certain criteria, properties used as holiday lets are still able to deduct all of their mortgage interest and other finance costs from their turnover before calculating the tax liability, which used to be the case with buy-to-let properties.

Bev Dumbleton, chief operating officer at Sykes Holiday Cottages, says the holiday rental agency is seeing a growing number of landlords move into holiday letting for this reason.

“Stringent tax rules on buy-to-lets, phased in from 2017, have made it increasingly difficult to turn a profit,” says Dumbleton.

“This is only going to get worst for landlords.”

Nick Morrey, product technical manager at broker John Charcol, believes those switching to holiday letting are also motivated by the growing staycation trend.

“Thanks to Brexit, the UK is becoming a more popular holiday destination and demand for holiday lets is likely to increase and already has been since the referendum,” says Morrey.

Another factor driving landlords to change strategy is the Government’s plan to abolish Section 21 evictions.

Many landlords are concerned they will be stuck with difficult tenants for long periods of time once this change comes into force.

“With longer term lets, it can be riskier taking on tenants if they don’t turn out to be quite what you hoped,” says Dumbleton.

“Landlords may find themselves stuck in a binding contract when things aren’t ideal.”

Although frequently dubbed ‘no-fault’ evictions, landlord groups such as the National Landlords Association (NLA) have warned that landlords are typically using Section 21 to evict tenants who are not paying the rent or causing damage.

There is another process that can be used in these circumstances – a Section 8 eviction – but NLA research has shown landlords do not believe this process works.

How do the numbers stack up?

In many areas, it tends to be more lucrative from a rental income point of view to rent properties out on a short-term basis.

But costs and managing agent fees also tend to be higher for holiday lets, so the overall financial picture in many cases was not different enough to warrant the extra hassle for many landlords.

With the tax disparity added into the mix, this may no longer be true, especially for higher rate taxpayers.

Example one: a holiday hotspot

We crunched the numbers on a two-bedroom holiday let in popular seaside town Whitby to see whether a landlord would end up with more money in their pocket via buy-to-let or holiday let.

 Buy-to-letHoliday let
Rental income£7,872£13,000
Mortgage interest£1,780£2,936
Commission£945£3,120
Running costs£787£2,600
Tax£2,100£1,738
Profit£2,260£2,606

Rental income figures for buy-to-let taken from home.co.uk; for holiday let provided by Sykes Cottages.

Mortgage rates provided by John Charcol – 2% for buy-to-let; 3.3% for holiday let, based on a five-year fix at 75% loan-to-value (LTV) on an interest-only basis. Figures based on the average flat value in Whitby of £118,643, taken from home.co.uk.

Commission rate estimated at 12% including VAT for buy-to-let; 24% including VAT for holiday let.

Other running costs estimated at 10% for buy-to-let; 20% for holiday let. Based on a tax rate of 40%.

Example two: a city centre pad

We also crunched the numbers on a city short-let in Fairfield, Liverpool, using data provided by short-term letting agent Portico Host.  

 Buy-to-letHoliday let
Rental income£16,716£32,883
Mortgage interest£1,902£3,138
Commission£2,006£7,892
Running costs£1,672£6,577
Tax£4,835£6,110
Profit£6,301£9,166

In this example, we used Portico’s rental income and average house price data for this area (£126,779), which was based on AirDNA, Rightmove and Land Registry data.

We made the same mortgage, commission, running costs and tax assumptions as in the Whitby example.

The bottom line

As it can be seen in the scenarios, in both cases, a landlord would be better off renting a property on a short-term basis rather than on a long-term one, albeit only slightly in the Whitby example.

But while a city-centre property might be more lucrative, a seaside hotspot might be more appealing for those looking to use the property themselves or retire there in the future.

It’s worth pointing out there are lots of other considerations to take into account if you’re pondering moving from long-term to short-term lets.

In some areas – London, for example – there are rules prohibiting short lets for more than 90 days per year unless you’ve applied for planning permission.

There are also far fewer lenders offering mortgages for holiday lets so obtaining finance is likely to be more difficult than for buy-to-let.

If you own a leasehold property, you’ll also need to seek the permission of your freeholder and this may not be granted.

There’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking about changing strategy, but the numbers suggest it could be a worthwhile move for some landlords.

By Joanne Christie

Source: Love Money

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Nationwide confirms buy-to-let repayment holiday

Nationwide has extended its repayment holidays to cover buy-to-let mortgages.

The Housing Secretary and Prime Minister have both outlined plans to protect landlords and tenants against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Henry Jordan, Nationwide’s director of mortgages, said: “As the UK’s second largest buy-to-let mortgage provider we feel it is important to extend protection to landlords and their tenants during this uncertain period.

“We have extended mortgage payment holidays to include rental properties so that landlords with tenants who are unable to meet rental payments because of coronavirus are protected as much as possible.

“These payment breaks will be able to be arranged via The Mortgage Works – Nationwide’s buy-to-let arm.

“We would encourage tenants to speak to their landlords if they are impacted or worried about coronavirus to ensure that steps can be taken to support them at this time.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said of the changes: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage.

“Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.

“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, added: Landlord groups welcomes government support.

“We recognise the exceptional circumstances and we will work collaboratively with government to ensure these measures protect both landlords and tenants.

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK landlords reveal top concerns as Buy to Let economy heats up

Private rental prices are climbing, the economy is growing stronger, and demand is increasing. Reports predict that rental prices will see a ten percent increase by 2024, and during that same period, house prices are forecast to increase by a huge 15.3 percent on average.

Despite this bounceback in the market, UK landlords are still confronting numerous changes. Government reforms, perplexing mortgage rules, and cumbersome tax increases combine to pinch profits while creating new headaches for landlords. As a result, many landlords are starting to utilise short-term letting sites such as Airbnb.

With the implications of a rapidly changing buy to let landscape in mind, the UK’s landlords recently shared their concerns in Portico London estate agents’ landlord survey, along with advice for maintaining and maximising profitability moving forward.

Taxes and legislation were top concerns for UK landlords

It’s no surprise that concerns over recent and upcoming legislative changes and tax increases are at the top of the list for most landlords. A full 58 percent of UK landlords placed these two considerations above all other matters.

Several pieces of new legislation take effect in 2020. Landlords and those who are considering entrance into the buy to let marketplace should be aware of:

  • The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act of 2018, which outlines certain standards that must be met within all rental properties. This isn’t a concern for landlords who maintain their properties well, however it’s worth a look simply to ensure that your property meets specifications. The Homes Act applies to all tenancies as of 20 March 2020.
  • Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards of E or above will apply to all non-exempt rental properties as of April, 2020. Landlords who need to arrange for an EPC assessment or have necessary maintenance work completed should prioritise compliance to avoid complications.
  • New Capital Gains Tax rules take effect on 6 April 2020. Changes to lettings relief and final exemption periods apply and from April, landlords will be granted only 30 days to tell HMRC and pay Capital Gains tax. This is a major change; previously, landlords were allowed to delay payment of Capital Gains Tax to the next tax year.
  • Client Money Protection Scheme changes take effect in April 2020 as well. Lettings agents in England were previously allowed a 12-month grace period to join an approved client money protection scheme. This has expired. All UK lettings agents must now protect landlord and tenant money by belonging to a client money protection scheme.
  • An Extension of the Tenant Fees Act will cover all existing tenancies beginning in June 2020. In short, this legislation bans many tenant fees for new tenancies. It prevents landlords and letting agents from charging fees other than deposits, holding deposits, rent, and charges for defaulting on contracts. Breaking this law means fines up to £5,000 for the first offence and fines up to £30,000 for subsequent offences.
  • Section 21 changes, electrical safety checks, and other rules without specific dates.

Property maintenance and tenant behaviour worry landlords

More than a third (31 percent) of landlords surveyed stated that property maintenance was a top concern. Tenant behaviour and property damage were listed as leading issues for a full 27 percent of landlords. These two concerns often go hand in hand, yet a full fourteen percent of landlords stated that they don’t carry landlord insurance to offset potential costs associated with damages. Another fourteen percent weren’t sure whether their portfolios included landlord insurance.

With concerns over property maintenance and damages caused by tenants and their guests at the fore, Portico recommends taking security deposits, screening tenants through a tenant credit check, securing detailed tenancy agreements, and building healthy relationships with tenants. Portico states property management is designed to ease these concerns for landlords via rent guarantee and other protective measures.

Budgeting for maintenance and renovations should be a major consideration. Portico’s survey showed that a full 54% of landlords found themselves dealing with up to three maintenance issues in 2019 alone, while another 25 percent of landlords had to handle four or even five maintenance-related issues that same year. A smaller percentage of landlords were faced with even more problems: About five percent had between 5-9 issues to deal with, while another five percent had to handle ten or more problems.

Just how much money should landlords set aside for general maintenance costs annually? Research from LV suggests that it’s wise to set aside £3,134 per property, per year. Portico’s survey respondents typically budgeted less; only 44 percent said that they actually budgeted for maintenance, and those landlords set aside an average of £1,000 to £2,000 per property per year.

As for renovations, a full 63 percent of landlords surveyed renovated at least one property after purchasing it. 33 percent of those said that the purpose of the renovations was to reduce void periods and make the property easier to rent, while 38 percent said that they improved their properties to keep current tenants happily housed.

Brexit takes fourth place; market conditions come in fifth

A mere 19 percent of landlords continue to place worries over Brexit’s impact ahead of other concerns. As the market continues to stabilise following the general election results and the so-called “Boris bounce,” only 18 percent of landlords put market conditions at the top of their list.

Portico states that “As stability returns to the property market after Brexit, we predict that homebuyers and sellers will have the confidence to return to the housing market. Sellers in particular have the incentive required to move forward now that there is a good likelihood that they’ll receive better offers.” 

Short-term rentals make void periods less of a concern

Not too long ago, void periods were a chief concern for landlords across the UK. These days, worries over empty rental properties have subsided, taking sixth place. While London places limits on the number of days a rental may be offered via Airbnb, it’s still easy for landlords to utilise short-term rentals as a simple, effective method for maximising revenue between long-term tenants.

There’s another reason why more landlords are turning to Airbnb as a solution: Airbnb management services eliminate the legwork associated with offering rental properties to holidaymakers, so landlords enjoy a more profitable return on investment without worries over mundane tasks such as laundering linens, hiring cleaners, and handling other essential yet time-consuming chores.

Letting agents gaining popularity

Not surprisingly, landlords find tax and legislative changes worrisome – and the many day-to-day demands associated with managing rental properties can be cumbersome particularly when landlords have other professional demands. Only about 54 percent of landlords are managing their own buy to let properties; meanwhile, 43 percent take advantage of letting agents and another 3 percent use online management services.

The buy to let industry is becoming more complicated, but there is still money in buy-to-let and landlords are remaining optimistic. Landlords who work with lettings agents and other property experts can enjoy access to greater insight and assistance with issues including taxes, compliance with legislation, and more. Handyman services, rent guarantees, and maintenance between tenancies are in higher demand than ever before. While industry experts can’t completely erase landlords’ concerns, it’s clear that a team approach eases the way forward in an increasingly complex buy to let landscape.

Source: London Loves Business

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Property Investment North And South Divide

Successful buy to let property investment can often depend on location – North, South, or the Midlands.

The latest research from peer to peer lending platform, Sourced Capital, has looked at where’s best to invest in bricks and mortar across the north, south and midlands regions of Britain.

Location can be vital when investing in property and regional influences can make the difference between profit and loss, so Sourced Capital has dissected the market based on the value of a property and the total value sold, as well as demand for these properties based on the volume of transactions.

The North-South divide is a very contentious issue but with the Midlands becoming a property powerhouse in its own right over the last few years, Sourced Capital totted up the totals based on: –

  • The North including the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and Scotland.
  • The South including the East of England, London, the South East and South West.
  • The Midlands including the East and West Midlands and Wales.

The figures show that despite much talk of the Northern Powerhouse, the South remains in pole position where the property market is concerned. In the last 12 months, house prices across the South have averaged £335,567 with £132.7 billion worth of property sold across 401,606 transactions.

The North doesn’t trail by much when it comes to the churn of property sales though, with 333,262 transactions over the last month, although the value of these properties is significantly lower with the average property going for £152,276 with a total value of £52.1 billion.

The Midlands and Wales accounted for the lowest level of transactions at 203,586 and while total value also trailed at just £38,4 billion, the average house price does exceed that of the North at £185,241.

Stephen Moss, founder and MD of Sourced Capital, commented: ‘When it comes to the sheer volume of transactions and the value of bricks and mortar, the South continues to lead the way and while this is largely driven by London, each region provides an attractive proposition when it comes to investing from both a demand and value point of view.

‘However, the North isn’t far behind when it comes to demand for housing and with the exception of the North East, it’s fair to say the property market across the majority of the North and even parts of the Midlands can go toe to toe with the South on transaction volume.’

Source: Residential Landlord

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Midlands Buy To Let Investors Most Likely To Expand

Buy let property investors in the Midlands are most likely to expand their property portfolios this year, according to research by specialist buy to let lender Paragon.

Overall, Paragon’s buy to let survey found that just 14 per cent of landlords in England and Wales are currently looking to expand their portfolios, with those in the Midlands most likely to buy an extra property.

Almost one in four (24 per cent) of landlords in the East Midlands plan to buy further investment properties this year, closely followed by 22 per cent of landlords in the West Midlands.

This compares to landlords in Wales, London Central, and the South West, where just 10 per cent, 9 per cent, and 8 per cent of landlords respectively intend to buy.

More than half (52 per cent) of those looking to invest further said they were targeting terraced properties. One in four, meanwhile, said they would look to buy a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Semi-detached houses were being targeted by 32 per cent, while 26 per cent were looking to purchase flats for investment.

In addition to the popularity of the midlands, the research also showed that professional landlords with larger portfolios are more likely to invest further.

Just 8 per cent of landlords with one property are looking to invest, compared with 20 per cent of large portfolio landlords with 20 properties or more.

Of landlords with 2-3 existing properties 12 per cent are looking to expand, while 15 per cent of those with 4-5 properties are looking to buy further. 14 per cent of investors with 6-19 properties intend to purchase.

Paragon’s data shows nearly two-thirds of landlords plan to fund their next purchase with a buy to let mortgage

Richard Rowntree of Paragon commented: ‘Portfolio landlords have adopted a number of strategies to adapt to the tax and regulatory changes of recent years.

‘We’re seeing trends such as these landlords buying stock from smaller-scale participants as they exit the market or targeting higher-yielding properties such as HMOs.’

Source: Residential Landlord

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Foundation: Landlords expect further government intervention

A majority of landlords (70%) expect further government intervention in the private rental and buy-to-let sectors during 2020 according to the latest research by Foundation Home Loans.

Of those who anticipate further government action, 73% believe it is either quite, or very likely that this will mean the introduction of minimum tenancy terms.

The same number believe action is likely in the HMO and multi-unit block sector.

In addition, 72% of landlords believe individual licencing for all landlords and their properties is likely whilst 38% can envisage a rental cap for private rental properties being introduced.

The research was undertaken by BVA BDRC and carried out in January 2020, with results based on 791 online interviews.

A further 77% of landlords were not in favour of a rental cap, 12% said they may be in favour, 2% definitely supported such a measure and 9% were unsure.

When asked what action they would take should any cap on rents be introduced in the PRS, 35% said they would immediately increase all rents to the maximum rent allowable, 33% said they would consider selling some of their portfolio, 20% didn’t know, while 19% would either look at leaving the PRS or at other assets for their investment.

A tenth (10%) said they would do nothing.

Overall respondents were neutral on whether December’s general election result would be either positive or negative for them.

Over a quarter (26%) thought positive, 28% thought negative, whilst 38% thought neither.

Landlords who held more properties within their portfolios were more likely to be positive about the impact.

The issue of abolishing S21 evictions was a major concern for over half (53%) of landlords, who stated they would feel much less confident about their portfolios if this was introduced, while 30% said it would make them feel slightly less confident.

Overall, there is however a greater degree of landlord optimism than in previous iterations of the research, with the metric used to show this is up for the first time in over a year.

Jeff Knight, director of marketing at Foundation Home Loans, said: “While many landlords look like they’re taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to this government and any anticipated intervention in the PRS and/or buy-to-let market, it’s also noticeable that many believe the status quo is unlikely to hold and there will be action of some kind.

“Interestingly, landlords appear resigned to the introduction of minimum tenancy terms, further action with regards to HMOs and MUBs and individual licensing.

And while 38% think a rental cap might be likely, there is very little support for such a measure being introduced, and it will result in landlords having to take action around the rents they charge and whether they can hold onto all their properties.

“There is definitely a degree of uncertainty around what might be coming next, and I suspect many landlords are waiting for this month’s Budget before they make up their minds more fully on whether this is a government which will be more ‘friendly’ to landlords.

“Of those who think there will be intervention, 32% think stamp duty for landlords is just as likely to go up from its 3% extra charge level, as opposed to the 7% who think a cut is likely.

“In that sense, landlords appear to be bracing themselves for a Budget which may not be in their favour, rather than one which seeks to roll-back on the measures which have undoubtedly impacted on their profitability over the last few years.

“Clearly landlords do not want to see S21 evictions removed as an option for them, but at the same time there appears to be a growing level of confidence in their own businesses, especially for those who own larger numbers of properties.

“This perhaps taps into the move towards portfolio operators in the sector who can certainly benefit from strong lending options and a highly competitive mortgage market to help them meet their aims and ambitions for their businesses.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer