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Buy-to-let benefits from increased choice and competitive rates

Landlords are benefiting from an increased choice of buy-to-let products as more mortgages return to the market following the dip caused by the pandemic.

Data from Moneyfacts.co.uk showed, having plunged to a total of 1,455 products in May, the buy-to-let mortgage market has received a boost of 283 more products as lenders increase their ranges.

The two-year fixed rate market now has 134 more products and there are an additional 164 options in the five-year fixed rate sector than compared to the start of May.

However, things are still not as buoyant as they were before the Covid-19 crisis began in March, when there were 2,897 buy-to-let mortgages available.

Eleanor Williams, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said its latest research revealed the buy-to-let sector had adapted well to conditions caused by the pandemic and there were indications landlords may have cause for positivity.

“The latest Rental Index research from lettings platform Goodlord indicates that in June, new tenancy applications remained at 90% above 2019 levels,” Williams added.

“Subsequently, they have recorded increases in rental costs and also void periods reducing, as tenant demand for new properties remains strong now that the market has reopened.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your BTL Mortgage please click here

“This news should be a boost to landlords, who after a difficult few months can see that choice is beginning to return to their sector.”

Vote of confidence

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club said the news more choice was returning to the market was a vote of confidence in the buy-to-let sector and a sure sign that it remained open for business.

He added: “At Legal & General Mortgage Club, our data even shows that despite the pandemic landlords still have a positive view of the buy-to-let sector.

“Nearly three in every five landlords (57%) told us that the crisis has had no impact on their plans to stay in the market and more than one in ten (16%) even have plans to buy more property over the coming months.”

Competitive rates

Moneyfacts data also showed rates were currently competitive, especially when compared to January.

The average rate for two-year fixed rate mortgages on 1 July was 0.21% less than at the start of the year, while the five-year fixed rate has fallen by 0.22% over the same time period.

Buy-to-let mortgage market analysis
Product numbersJan-20Mar-20Apr-20May-20Jul-20
BTL product count – fixed and variable rates2,5832,8971,8871,4551,738
Two-year fixed rates BTL – all LTVs823914610491625
Two-year fixed rates BTL – 80% LTV11914157931
Two-year fixed rates BTL – 60% LTV126124129148144
Five-year fixed rates BTL – all LTVs8791,000695480644
Five-year fixed rates BTL – 80% LTV11015069619
Five-year fixed rates BTL – 60% LTV128133140155146
Average RatesJan-20Mar-20Apr-20May-20Jul-20
BTL two-year fixed – all LTVs2.82%2.77%2.71%2.51%2.61%
 BTL two-year fixed – 80% LTV3.64%3.56%3.80%3.61%3.18%
 BTL two-year fixed – 60% LTV1.92%1.89%2.24%2.39%2.28%
BTL five-year fixed – all LTVs3.19%3.24%3.16%2.94%2.97%
 BTL five-year fixed – 80% LTV4.03%3.98%4.18%4.32%3.82%
 BTL five-year fixed – 60% LTV2.32%2.31%2.62%2.76%2.65%
Data shown is as at first working day of month, unless otherwise stated. Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk

By Kate Saines

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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Early signs of BTL mortgage market recovery

Moneyfacts UK Mortgage Trends Treasury Report data, not yet published, reveals that there are glimmers of hope emerging for the Buy to Let mortgage market, following the significant initial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. In welcome news to many landlords, the choice in products has increased, and some higher loan-to-value (LTV) average rates have reduced. These shifts are likely to be linked with lenders’ focus on supporting existing borrowers alleviating and of course the Government guidance on valuation restrictions lifting.

Overall, there are 280 more BTL products available now than there were at the start of May 2020. The product choice at 75% LTV has increased by 46 two year fixed rate deals and 54 more products are available in the five year fixed rate bracket. The picture at 80% LTV is similar, with this traditionally smaller sector increasing by 26 two year fixed rate products and 20 more options available for those seeking a five year fixed rate over the month.

Average interest rates on fixed BTL mortgages have risen slightly for two and five year fixed rates overall, likely due to the increase in the number of products that these averages are based on. However, there is cause for celebration for landlords who have only a 20% deposit available, as rates on both two and five year fixed rate BTL products at 80% LTV have reduced, by 0.49% and 0.67% respectively, which will be great news for those considering purchasing or at remortgaging at this LTV.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your BTL Mortgage please click here

Buy-to-let market analysis
Product numbersMay-20Jun-20Difference
BTL product count (fixed and variable)14551735280
Two-year fixed rate BTL all LTVs491597106
Two-year fixed rate BTL at 75% LTV16521146
Two-year fixed rate BTL at 80% LTV93526
Five-year fixed rate BTL all LTVs480607127
Five-year fixed rate BTL at 75% LTV17623054
Five-year fixed rate BTL at 80% LTV62620
Average ratesMay-20Jun-20Difference
Two-year fixed rate BTL all LTVs2.51%2.59%0.08%
Two-year fixed rate BTL at 75% LTV2.60%2.64%0.04%
Two-year fixed rate BTL at 80% LTV3.61%3.12%-0.49%
Five-year fixed rate BTL all LTVs2.94%3.03%0.09%
Five-year fixed rate BTL at 75% LTV3.15%3.17%0.02%
Five-year fixed rate BTL at 80% LTV4.32%3.65%-0.67%
Source: Moneyfacts Treasury Reports. Data shown is as at the first of the month unless otherwise stated.

Eleanor Williams, Finance Expert at Moneyfacts, said:

“The Bank of England base rate currently remains at its lowest ever level of 0.10%, resulting in further despair for savers. However, those looking to invest their money in property now that the mortgage market has reopened may feel now is a good time to explore their options, particularly with rates becoming more competitive and product choice beginning to return this month.

“A recent survey from Rightmove, which was conducted as the property market reopened at the end of May 2020, revealed that demand from tenants for rental properties increased by 33% when compared to the same time period last year. Therefore, the increase in buy-to-let product choice will be welcome news to landlords.

“This positive growth in choice is reflected in the higher LTV tiers, with deals for landlords with just a 25% or 20% deposit or equity keeping pace across two and five-year fixed rate options. This is encouraging considering that early in the Covid-19 crisis, providers were focused on supporting existing customers and restrictions meant that physical valuations were not feasible, seeing many lenders reduce their offerings to lower risk, lower LTV products. These developments left those with less equity or deposit un-catered for.

“Average rates have increased slightly over the last month, likely impacted by the higher number of mortgage products available from which this average is calculated. The overall two-year fixed rate sees a 0.08% rise, while the five-year fixed equivalent increased by 0.09%. However, landlords who may be concerned about increasing mortgage rates will be heartened to see that at 80% LTV, the two-year fixed average rate has dropped month-on-month. In this same bracket, those looking for longer-term protection from interest rate volatility and considering locking into a five-year fixed rate deal will also find rates have fallen over the same period – which sees it sit lower than the March 2020 figure of 3.98% as a result.

“As we begin to see indications that the buy-to-let market may be starting to recover, the full economic impact of the current crisis is still not yet clear for tenants and landlords alike. However, those who are in a position to consider capitalising on possible falls in house prices to expand their property portfolios or indeed those looking to switch their current deal, may wish to move quickly. If they do decide to make a move, they would be wise to seek advice from an independent, qualified financial adviser regarding their options, as criteria and requirements continue to be updated.”

Source: Property118

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Landlords on payment holidays denied buy to let mortgages

Landlords who have taken a payment holiday because tenants are unable to pay their rent are being rejected for mortgages to buy new properties.

Buy-to-let borrowers are urged to think carefully before taking a break in repayments, especially if they are planning on adding to their portfolio in the near future.

As with residential mortgages, landlords have been able to access a break in mortgage repayments for three months since March.

Recent guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) means extensions of a further three months are available, with applications for a pause open until the end of October.

Payment breaks do not negatively affect credit files and this appears to be giving the impression that the ability to borrow is not impacted.

The regulator warned that “credit files aren’t the only source of information which lenders can use to assess creditworthiness”.

And lenders are now turning down purchase applications if repayments are not being made on one of the properties in the portfolio.

‘Use as a last resort’
A number of advisers told our sister title, Mortgage Solutions, they have seen this happen in recent weeks.

Edward Peters, buy-to-let specialist broker at Mortgage 1st, said he had several instances where payment holidays were “interfering with mortgage applications” across different lenders.

He added: “People are aware these don’t show as mortgage arrears on credit reports, but this has been extrapolated to a belief that coronavirus holidays have no effect.

“Lenders will often ask if any holidays have been taken on any properties in the portfolio, and this may well affect their lending decision.

“So far, most holidays I’ve come across have been requested only as a precaution against rental defaults, and not to offset an actual reduction in income.

“Landlords need to think carefully when requesting a holiday, especially if other applications are imminent or in progress.

“It’s easy to understand the lenders’ mentality on this. A payment holiday is effectively an admission of not being able to cover the mortgage payment, and so should be used only as a last resort.”

As part of measures to ease financial pressures on households, possessions and evictions are also currently barred.

Landlords have in some cases arguably been encouraged to take payment breaks if tenants cannot pay rents.

For example, Nationwide said it is contacting all its landlord borrowers to let them know holidays are available where rent is not being paid.

Not ‘in the spirit’ of situation
The National Residential Landlords Association said turning down borrowing applications was “not in the spirit” of the special coronavirus measures implemented by the FCA and the government.

John Stewart, deputy policy director for the trade body, said: “The Financial Conduct Authority has been clear that where mortgage holidays are secured in response to coronavirus they should not have a negative impact on the applicant’s credit file.

“It is therefore deeply disappointing that there are lenders not abiding by the spirit of these guidelines, and are failing to support otherwise reliable customers.

“It should not be right that landlords seeking to support tenants genuinely struggling due to the pandemic are being penalised in this way.”

Emergency break
Chris Sykes, mortgage consultant at Private Finance said he could see it from the perspective of both lenders and landlords.

Landlords who are not repaying debt on one property do not appear to be a good lending risk.

Sykes said he also understood why landlords were taking a holiday even if they do have savings and could maybe want to grow their portfolio to spread risk.

He added: “This is a short-term measure and I don’t expect we will see it being an issue in six months’ time as it leaves no lasting negative on the credit file as confirmed by Experian and Equifax.

“We are all aware it isn’t a great situation right now for a lot of people and hopefully these things are only short-term.

“However, I do not think people realise the affect it can have, maybe they should be called an emergency payment break rather than a holiday.”

Written by: Lana Clements

Source: Your Money

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Lenders return in week after lockdown

Lenders have reintroduced physical valuations and higher loan-to-value lending after the government gave the green light to restart the housing market in England last week after seven weeks of lockdown.

Accord Mortgages announced today (May 20) that it is accepting residential applications up to 90 per cent LTV following the renewal of physical valuations.

Buy-to-let remortgages are currently available up to 65 per cent LTV, although a spokesperson for Accord said an announcement on this was due on Friday.

Meanwhile, Virgin Money and Clydesdale Bank confirmed “a wider range of products supported with a mix of physical and non-physical valuations” would be introduced next week, including residential mortgages up to 90 per cent LTV and buy-to-let mortgages up to 80 per cent LTV.

Temporary limits on loan sizes and property values will also be withdrawn.

Additionally, physical valuations will be booked in England for pipelines cases with Virgin Money and Clydesdale Bank that require such a valuation.

Some lenders had already resumed offering high LTVs last month. Halifax Intermediaries reintroduced lending up to 85 per cent LTV in April, followed by BM Solutions’ return to buy-to-let lending up to 75 per cent.

Nationwide also extended lending via brokers up to 85 per cent LTV after focussing support on existing borrowers and processing ongoing applications.

Providers had previously withdrawn high LTV lending after the government announced a lockdown on March 23, which effectively brought the property market to a halt.

Additionally, Nationwide has confirmed that valuers will be able to resume physical inspections this week (from May 18) after the government published its new guidance on moving home.

Likewise, Santander announced the following day (May 19) its valuation partners would aim to contact intermediaries’ clients, or the property owner, by May 29 to arrange a date for cases in England that required a physical inspection and had been put on hold.

It anticipated that most valuations will be carried out before June 10.

Santander said it would be holding rates while increasing the maximum loan size to £1m on some residential products, and to £750,000 on its buy-to-let range.

This followed recent changes from Santander such as raising the maximum LTV for residential lending to 85 per cent, and for buy-to-let remortgage products to 60 per cent LTV.

Meanwhile Leeds Building Society is working with Countrywide to complete the “outstanding minority” of valuations on mortgage applications as physical inspections resume in England.

Jaedon Green, chief customer officer at Leeds Building Society, said desktop valuations will continue to be used where appropriate and “for homeowners particularly concerned about social distancing, we’re also piloting external inspections which mean a valuer will still visit their home but doesn’t need to enter it”.

Specialist lenders have also been adapting to market conditions. As well as resuming physical valuations, on May 19 West One Loans relaunched buy-to-let products at 70 per cent LTV, subject to a maximum loan size of £250,000.

For many brokers the renewal of physical valuations is likely to be welcome news.

Andrew Brown, managing director at Bennison Brown, said the main challenge during lockdown was that an estimated 60 per cent of their cases were not suitable for remote valuation.

Commenting on the return of physical valuations and viewings, Mr Brown said: “It is likely to take some time to clear the backlogs and for consumers to gain confidence but it is the first major piece of good news we’ve had for some time.

“We hope this is the start of the recovery of our sector.”

Some advisers had pointed to issues with undervaluations as remote valuations were carried out during lockdown.

Kevin Dunn, director at Furnley House, said some of his remortgage clients, who had properties valued remotely, felt they would have received a higher figure if a physical valuation had been carried out.

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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More than 85% of BTL lenders are allowing landlords to remortgage

Mortgage for Business says there are still 42 lenders in the buy-to-let remortgage market, a fall of seven (14%) since the Covid-19 epidemic took hold.

Steve Olejnik, managing director of Mortgages for Business, said: “While HSBC has recently announced it is no longer able to accept applications for buy-to-let mortgages, other lenders are out there.

“We’ve seen lenders like Together Money and Vida Homeloans temporarily pull out of the market – but more than 85% of the lenders that landlords rely on are still trying to do their bit – as are we.

“Four of the lenders that initially withdrew their BTL mortgages – Santander, Clydesdale, Precise Mortgages and Kent Reliance – are now lending again.

“There is no need for landlords to panic. Yes, landlords looking to remortgage have fewer options. But they still have plenty.”

Saffron Building Society withdrew from the market before the outbreak in March – for non-Covid-19 reasons – and has indicated its intention to return ‘later in the year’.

Lenders that stopped lending to landlords since the outbreak, and remain withdrawn from the BTL market, include HSBC, Foundation Home Loans, Together Money, Vida Home Loans, Platform Home Loans, State Bank of India and Furness Building Society.

Olejnik commented: “Lots of lenders have cut down the sorts of landlords that they will lend to. They’re pulling product ranges, tightening lending criteria and increasing margins.

“But different lenders are derisking against different kinds of landlord borrowers. So, while some lenders are no longer lending to first time landlords, there are still lenders who are.

“A huge number of 80% LTV five-year fixed rate BTL products have been pulled from the market – about 90% of them. But not all.”

Number of lenders in BTL remortgage market

Type of BTL RemortgageMarch 2020April 2020Change
First-time landlords4735-26%
Portfolio landlords4033-18%
Ltd company landlords3024-20%
Student lettings3021-30%
HMOs2715-44%
BTL tracker loans2816-43%
85% LTV BTL loans30-100%
Active BTL lenders4942-14%

Valuations

Olejnik added: “With valuers banned from visiting homes, landlords are finding remortgaging harder than it was. But there are lenders offering mortgages using automated valuations, rather than physical valuations, and a lot of our landlord clients are taking advantage of this.

“The landlord community is benefitting from Shawbrook and Paragon, in particular, who are using virtual valuations for loans against standard properties up to 75% of loan to value. They’re being very helpful.

“Even lenders who require a physical valuation at a higher LTV are generally processing landlords’ remortgage applications as normal – but moving the valuation part of the application to the very end. A significant percentage of our landlord clients are happy to do this. They’re content to sit back and wait out the lockdown and get a physical valuation done.”

Product numbers

While the number of lenders operating in the market has fallen only marginally, there has been a significant fall in buy-to-let mortgage deals since the start of March 2020– with the number of BTL products dropping by almost 50%.

Olejnik concluded: “The number of products has dropped but the only section of the market that’s genuinely gummed up is 85% LTV lending – and that’s pretty niche. There were only three lenders doing business at that end of the market when the Boris Bounce was in full swing.”

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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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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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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Two-year fixed rates grow in popularity among buy-to-let landlords

The percentage of landlords opting for two-year fixed rate buy-to-let mortgages in the final quarter of 2019 was 26% – a 12-month high – and up from 8% the previous year.

These figures are from Mortgages for Business, which says the growing number of landlords opting for shorter-term rates has been fuelled by the shorter Early Repayment Charge (ERC) periods, which are typically attached to these types of products.

Shorter ERC periods allow landlords to refinance sooner without occurring a penalty – an option which became more popular in the uncertain political climate at the back end of last year.

Five-year fixed rates still most popular

However, despite the majority of landlords (95%) choosing fixed rates over a variable product (down slightly from 97% in the previous quarter) five-year fixed rate products remain the most popular term chosen by 68% of landlords (down from 70% in Q3 and 72% in Q2 2019).

This is mainly because lenders are still applying less rigorous stress tests to five-year products than to shorter-term products which, in effect, means landlords can borrow more using them than with their two or three-year counterparts.

More interest in variable rates

There has been an increase in the popularity of the tracker and discounted rate products, up from 2% in Q3 to 4% in Q4 2019 as landlords respond to increased speculation that the Bank Rate could be cut in the near future.

Steve Olejnik, managing director of Mortgages for Business, said: “Recent political uncertainty has led more landlords to opt for two-year fixed rates over longer-term fixed rate products.

“Landlords are drawn to the shorter Early Repayment Charge periods associated with these types of products, which provide greater flexibility.

“Given we now have more certainty in the political system, we forecast that landlords may start to look at longer term fixes again in the future.”

Limited company rates

There are 49 buy-to-let lenders in the UK and 31 of them offer limited company mortgages.

Rates available to landlords borrowing via a limited company on average were 0.7% points higher than those available to landlords borrowing personally – up from 0.6% points in the previous quarter.

The number of products available to limited companies for both two-year (288) and five-year fixed rates (322) grew in Q4 2019.

Olejnik said: “More landlords are expanding their portfolios through a limited company which has proven to be a more effective borrowing vehicle both from a tax perspective and financially. Lenders have responded to that and demand has fuelled an increase in the number of products available.

Buy-to-let mortgage products numbers rise

The number of buy-to-let mortgage products available increased by 72 to 1,981 in Q4 2019 up from 1,909 in the previous quarter. In addition, the number of buy-to-let products available to limited companies increased by 51 to 738 up from 687 in Q3 2019.

Olejnik added: “The increase in the number of products available to limited companies gives landlords more choice. Since Brexit was assured by the clear General Election result in December, British house prices have risen at their fastest rate since 2002, according to Rightmove.

“Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) continued to produce the most substantial yields for landlords handling more complex portfolios, in at 9.2% Q4 2019.”

By Joanne Atkin

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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Arrears down 9% but repossessions rise by 17%

The fourth quarter of 2019 saw a 9% annual decrease in the number of residential mortgage arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance, according to UK Finance.

In Q4 there were 70,880 cases in arrears and within this total, 21,770 homeowner mortgages had significant arrears (10% or more of the outstanding balance). This was also 9% fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Residential repossessions

The number of homeowner possessions rose by 17% to 1,330 in Q4 2019 but UK Finance points out this is from a very low base, with 59 in every 100,000 homeowner mortgages being taken into possession in 2019.

This increase in possessions has been driven in part by a backlog of historic cases which are being processed in line with the latest regulatory requirements.

Buy-to-let

There were 4,390 buy-to-let mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance in Q4 2019, which is 0.22 per cent of all buy-to-let mortgages outstanding. This figure is down 7% fewer on the same quarter of the previous year.

Within the total, there were 1,160 buy-to-let mortgages with more significant arrears of 10% or more of the outstanding balance – 3% fewer than in the same quarter of 2018.

There was a 20% rise in buy-to-let mortgaged properties taken into possession in Q4 2019, taking the number to 660. Again, this is from a low base with 137 in every 100,000 buy-to-let mortgages being taken into possession in 2019.

Levels remain well below those seen between 2009 and 2014 and this increase is driven in part by a backlog of historic cases which are being processed on the same basis as the latest regulatory requirements in the residential sector.

By Joanne Atkin

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette