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A third of landlords have expanded buy-to-let portfolios

Buy to Let – The ‘opportunity to buy at a discount’ is driving many landlords to increase their portfolio a new survey has revealed.

In a study of more than 300 landlords, 34% said they had either recently purchased another buy-to-let property (BTL) or intended to buy one within the next nine months.

While the most common reason for their additional purchase was the opportunity to buy at a discount, other key factors included long‑term investment (35%), stamp duty savings (34%) and diversification by either location (26%) or property type (23%).

The survey also revealed how 43% of landlords surveyed said that they had temporarily lowered rents during the pandemic to help tenants, with 22% saying they had refinanced their mortgages since the arrival of coronavirus.

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Paul Fryers said: “Understanding the purchasing motivations behind professional landlords is an essential factor for Zephyr and our mortgage broker clients.

“It’s equally important to recognise and appreciate some of the challenges landlords have been facing during the past year and how they will affect their current and future applications.

“During the pandemic we saw a significant rise in the use of limited companies to buy and manage property portfolios, and it seems a significant proportion of landlords have made the most of the opportunities provided by the buoyant market conditions we have experienced over the past six months.”

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The survey also revealed only 7% of landlords had taken a mortgage holiday and 13% had sold a property during the pandemic.

Those landlords who did not purchase additional buy-to-let properties over the last year cited ‘declining rental yields’ (51%) and ‘concern about economic stability’ (42%) as their main reasons.

Matt Trevett added: “Although the buy-to-let market has remained more buoyant than some predicted, the last year has not been without its challenges for many tenants and landlords.

“The survey suggests a large proportion of landlords have been acting to support their tenants, with a significant proportion saying they had temporarily lowered rents during the pandemic.

“A recent survey also showed that the pandemic has triggered movement from cities to towns and the countryside, so landlords seeking to rebalance their portfolios may look to make purchases that reflect that trend.”

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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More Than a Quarter of Landlords Plan to Expand Portfolios

Just over one in four buy-to-let landlords are planning to expand their portfolio within the next 12 months, according to fresh research.

With buy-to-let continuing to deliver solid returns that outstrip many other asset classes, a survey by Knight Knox shows that 27% of buy-to-let landlords are currently planning to add to their portfolios in the near term.

The poll of 500 UK landlords by the property investment consultancy found that 27% of respondents are planning to expand their property portfolio in the next 12 months – influenced in part by the stamp duty holiday extension.

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Of those looking to invest in property at the moment, 35% say that the stamp duty holiday extension has influenced their decision.

Knight Knox’s commercial director, Andy Phillips, said: “The last 12 months have been a total rollercoaster for the housing market. Lockdown 1.0 temporarily halted activity before Rishi Sunak’s announcement of the stamp duty holiday led to the industry facing one of the busiest periods for a decade.

“For landlords, the incentive has provided a welcome opportunity to purchase more properties while making significant savings. Appetite for rental property is high – particularly given that the financial impact of the pandemic could be affecting people’s plans to purchase – so buy-to-let is a fantastic investment in the current climate.”

The research also found that on average, UK landlords earn over £20,000 net income per year from renting out properties and 88% are feeling confident or very confident about the buy-to-let market outlook for the next 12 months.

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Two-thirds of landlords said the pandemic had had no impact on tenancies within their properties and just 4% were planning to reduce their portfolio over the next year.

Phillips added: “The property market plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, so it’s encouraging to see that during times of crisis, the government has been forthcoming with lifelines to help keep the wheels of industry turning.

“As long as developers can continue to bring high quality property to market and landlords have the confidence to invest, the sector will remain buoyant and consumer demand for rental housing can be fulfilled.”

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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BTL investors seek larger loans as they look to diversify

A majority of buy-to-let landlords are applying for larger loans as market conditions encourage borrowers to buy more expensive properties and diversify their portfolios.

According to buy-to-let lender Keystone Property Finance, three in five of its customers applied for a mortgage in its larger loans range, which offers loan sizes between £250,000 and £1m, since December.

The lender said the popularity of larger loans could be due to landlords being able to afford more expensive properties as a result of the stamp duty holiday.

Elise Coole, managing director of Keystone Property Finance, said: “Our data shows that landlords remain confident about the buy-to-let market, with the majority of customers looking to secure a larger loan to purchase their property.

“Undoubtedly, the [stamp duty holiday] has played an important part in this and has presented landlords with an excellent opportunity to bolster their portfolios and invest in higher value properties.”

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Chris Sykes, associate director and mortgage consultant at Private Finance, said with possible rent arrears during the pandemic, this had partly encouraged landlords to consider diversifying their portfolios, thus requiring larger loans.

A November survey from Citizens Advice found half a million private renters were behind on their rent. MPs have called on the government to support tenants to repay rent arrears caused by the pandemic, including funds for landlords to help them receive income and avoid evictions.

Sykes said: “We have many portfolio landlords who traditionally only did single let family homes for example, who now are looking into houses in multiple occupation, multi-unit freehold blocks, holiday lets, etc.

“Many are even going further afield than that and are looking into commercial or semi-commercial property or development opportunities for higher yields, perhaps more hands-on investments but the profits often are considerably higher and [often require] larger loans to get things done.”

Data from Hamptons shows 15 per cent of all sales agreed in November were to landlords, the highest figure for four years, with investors “rushing to complete” their purchases before the original stamp duty holiday March deadline, according to the estate and letting agent.

Matthew Fleming-Duffy, director at Cherry Mortgage & Finance, said his firm had seen over 60 per cent of its business come from landlords between December and mid-March.

Likewise Aaron Strutt, product and communications director at Trinity Financial, noted demand from borrowers purchasing expensive buy-to-let properties due to cheap rates.

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Strutt said: “We are getting more calls from borrowers who are keen to purchase an investment property.

“There are a lot of landlords with £250,000-plus mortgages keen to remortgage and get the best possible deal. There is also demand from borrowers purchasing expensive buy-to-lets because of the cheap rates.”

The figures from Keystone Property Finance also found that three in five applications (62 per cent) for its larger loan products were from landlords registered as a limited company.

Mark Harris, chief executive at SPF Private Clients, said his firm had seen a marked interest in setting up a buy-to-let limited company.

Harris said: “We have seen significant interest from landlord clients with regard to switching to a limited company and lenders are recognising this with a wider range of products at competitive pricing.”

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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Most profitable locations for buy-to-let landlords revealed

Brighton, Bangor, Portsmouth and Leeds are the top places for buy-to-let landlords, research from CIA Landlords has revealed.

Ranked at the bottom of the table is St Albans, with the poorest prospects for landlords this year, with some potentially making a loss of more than £700 a month.

Only six locations in London remain profitable, with the majority of boroughs losing money.

The research also reveals that profitability in the Capital has nearly halved since January 2020, amid a major exodus during the pandemic.

Brighton remains the most profitable place to be a landlord for the second year running, with landlords in the coastal town making a monthly profit of around £570.

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The findings, which took into account rental fees charged to tenants and landlord costs placed Bangor in second place (£500.53), Portsmouth in third place (£479.27), Leeds in fourth place (£477.60) and Lancaster in fifth (£474.54).

Bristol, Coventry, Manchester, Nottingham and Salford rounded out the top ten.

Stuart Williams (pictured), director of Thirlmere Deacon, said: “Over the last few months, some landlords have seen their profits dented due to the Chancellors’ tax measures that are only now taking effect.

“Undoubtedly, it is becoming more difficult for amateur investors to make a profit in the buy-to-let market due to legislation changes and financial pressures, there is still a lot of money to be made if landlords and investors make the right investment decisions.

“If investors can purchase cheaper properties with higher yields, they will have the opportunity to protect and boost their profits in the longer term. For example, an average residential property in London is around £500k with rental yields of circa 2%, while a flat in a good area of Manchester could cost half the price and generate 6-7% rental yields on top of 4-5% annual capital appreciation

“Landlords should review their existing portfolio to see if they can boost rental income and protect profits, by attracting a different market. Landlords will often find the best returns in urban areas, with a concentration of students and young professionals.

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“It is also worth landlords considering setting up a limited company and using this structure to hold their properties.

“This will enable them to continue deducting mortgage interest when they are calculating profits. Buy-to-let Landlords can also benefit from just 20% corporation tax, instead of income tax of up to 45%.

“Landlords need to do a serious portfolio review and work out how the tax changes affect them and what options there are to save, or make more money. For example, remortgaging to get a better deal or renovating some old stock – these costs will be tax-deductible.

“Alternatively, landlords could consider selling some properties or increasing the rent.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Number of UK buy-to-let landlords has increased by 49% in five years

The number of UK buy-to-let landlords has risen 49% in the last five years to an all-time high of 2.7 million, research from ludlowthompson estate agents found.

The residential market has stayed relatively strong during the coronavirus pandemic, though the commercial property market has fared poorly, as 54% of tenants have held discussions with their landlords about taking a rent holiday.

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Stephen Ludlow, chairman of ludlowthompson, said: “The buy-to-let market has continued to provide a reliable return on investment for landlords, even during the worst of the pandemic when other forms of investments went through a period of intense volatility.”

“The historic resilience of residential property means many private investors are still looking to add to their holdings, particularly before March 2021 when the stamp duty holiday ends.”

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“We would advise existing and prospective landlords to consider re-purposing their properties to meet the changing needs of tenants.

“With people spending more time at home, having extra space both in and outdoors has become more important than ever. Outdoor areas and home offices are both in very high in demand, as is accessibility to high-speed WiFi.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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