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Uneven rise in rental stock as housing market restarts

The number of rental properties reaching the market has increased 5 per cent on average since the government announced the restart of the housing market last week but not all areas have fared the same, according to property management platform Howsy.

The platform analysed the number of available rental properties listed on Rightmove and Zoopla on May 13, when renters and buyers in England could resume moving home.

It found a 5 per cent growth on average in the number of properties available to tenants across 23 major UK cities, when compared to the number of properties listed on April 1.

While the increase was prominent in seven cities, including Edinburgh, Oxford and London, other places saw stocks decline.

The largest rise, based on the number of properties, was in London where an extra 6,838 rental properties were listed by May 13, rising 15 per cent from April 1.

Meanwhile, the largest percentage change was in Edinburgh, despite the property market in Scotland remaining effectively closed.

Callum Brannan, founder and CEO of Howsy, said: “Many in the rental sector will be breathing a sigh of relief with such immediate green shoots of market activity returning to a number of cities following an ease in lockdown market restrictions.

“Of course, other pockets of the market will take longer to see this positive trend emerge as agents and landlords find their feet operationally.”

Kat Tymon, director at Mansfield Money, said the buy-to-let mortgage market was also bouncing back during the coronavirus due to LTV requirements being lower than for residential mortgages.

She said: “Lenders have quickly re-entered this market to make the most of the opportunities out there.

“Demand for renting will still be high as people who previously wished to buy may no longer be able to do so due to lower income or lack of savings due to Covid-19.”

Separately, research by rental deposit replacement scheme Ome found the buy-to-let market declined 1 per cent every year in the past five years.

The latest data from UK Finance found a total of 640 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were repossessed in Q1 2020, marking an 8 per cent rise on the same quarter last year.

Earlier this month Citizens Advice warned that 2.6m private renters were at risk of eviction and possible homelessness when the government’s stay on evictions of residential tenants is expected to end on June 25.

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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Warning sounded on rental market as numbers plummet

Landlords are warning of a crisis in the private rental market as figures show a sharp drop in new rental properties becoming available.

The latest Residential Market Survey from RICs, published yesterday (December 12), showed surveyors reported a fall in the number of rental properties entering the rental market in November.

The November rating stood at -29 per cent — more than twice the -14 per cent recorded for November 2018.

In the RICs survey a negative net balance means more respondents were seeing a fall in new rental properties than seeing an increase so the lower the number, the worse things are in respect of rental property supply.

As tenant demand continues to increase, RICs predicted this would lead to rent increases of around 2 per cent over the next year and 3 per cent over the next five years.

Concerns have been raised about a dwindling buy-to-let market over the past few years since a series of tax and legislative changes had hit landlords’ pockets.

How the rules changed:

An additional 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge, introduced in April 2016, was closely followed by the abolition of mortgage interest tax relief for landlords.

Landlords then took a further hit when a shake up of rules by the Prudential Regulation Authority meant buy-to-let borrowers were now subject to more stringent affordability testing.

The changes to mortgage relief have been phased into the system since April 2017, but by April 2020 landlords will be unable to deduct any of their mortgage expenses from taxable rental income.

Instead, they will receive a tax-credit based on 20 per cent (the current basic tax rate) of their mortgage interest payments.

Following the changes, landlords who were higher or additional-rate taxpayers would now only get refunds at the 20 per cent rate, rather than top rate of paid tax.

On top of this, landlords could also be forced into a higher tax bracket because they would need to declare the income that was used to pay the mortgage on their tax return.

Some landlords have opted for owning property through a limited company to bypass the tax hike.

Meanwhile the Bank of England’s rule changes will mean fewer are able to borrow money to purchase a buy-to-let property than before.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “If the decline in the supply of new homes to rent continues to fall whilst demand is still rising, this is going to lead to a crisis in some areas as tenants desperately search for somewhere to live.

“This is all the result of increased taxation and other measures over the last three years and the result has been highly predictable as we said it would be.”

Carl Shave, director at Just Mortgage Brokers, said: “Following the onslaught of new legislation in the buy-to-let sector together with the recent tax changes for income and stamp duty, this shortage of supply will come as no great surprise.

“Changes by the government to try and assist the home ownership housing market have sadly been implemented without heed to the wider housing needs of the country.”

Alan Lakey, director at Highclere Financial, said clients were often turned away from the idea of buying a buy-to-let property once the true cost was explained to them.

He said: “Once they’ve considered stamp duty, the solicitor and valuer fees, the tax on the rental income and the capital gains tax when they come to sell, they usually no longer want to go through with it.”

By Imogen Tew

Source: FT Adviser

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A third of landlords looking to grow portfolio

Although landlords are pessimistic about the economy, a third are looking to grow their portfolio, Monmouthshire Building Society has found.

Nearly half (45%) of landlords believe the economy will worsen and 53% think legislation around tenancy and eviction will get worse for landlords.

However, nearly two-thirds (71%) think demand for rental properties will increase and a fifth (20%) are considering growing their portfolios.

Holiday lets were highlighted as a growth area with 64% of new landlords having a holiday let property in their portfolio.

Dan Goulding, product development manager at Monmouthshire Building Society, said: “It’s been a difficult time for landlords recently, and our survey has highlighted that the majority don’t expect things to improve anytime soon.

“However, the survey also shows that many landlords believe there are opportunities to be found in the market, such as investing in holiday lets and diversifying their portfolios.

“At Monmouthshire Building Society we will continue to support landlords by offering a wide range of buy-to-let mortgage products, including holiday let, portfolio and limited company mortgages.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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More homes let by company landlords since 2016

The proportion of homes let by company landlords have risen steadily since the removal of mortgage interest tax relief for non-company landlords was announced in 2016, Hamptons International has found.

It estimated that company landlords own 641,480 homes in Great Britain this year. This is 42% more than in 2015, when 452,600 homes were let by company landlords.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “More than one in 10 rental properties are now owned by private companies, an indication that the sector continues to professionalise.

“Increasing taxation for private landlords combined with the growth of the build to rent sector has meant that more companies are letting homes than at any time since our records began.

“London, where landlords tend to have higher levels of debt and often the most to gain from corporate ownership, has the largest proportion of homes let by a company.

“However, it’s not always more profitable to put a buy-to-let into a company as other associated costs come into play.

“Strong rents in the South drove rental growth in Great Britain in June.

“Low stock levels, particularly in the South, continue to put pressure on rents. Rents rose in six out of eight regions in Great Britain, with the East and Wales recording small falls.”

The increase is partly due to the rise in the proportion of homes let by company landlords, but also due to the increase in the overall size of the rental sector.

London landlords are most likely to own a buy-to-let property in a company structure. In H1 2019, 13% of new lets were owned by a company landlord, up from 12% in 2015 and 2018.

Meanwhile landlords in Wales are least likely to own a buy-to-let in a company name. Scotland has seen the biggest increase in the proportion of homes let by a company landlord since 2015 (+6%), followed by the North (5%) and South of England (3%).

Rental Growth Rental growth continues to accelerate, reaching the highest level since April 2016. The average cost of a new let in Great Britain increased to £986 per month in June, up 3.1% year-on-year.

The South West recorded the strongest rental growth, with rents rising 4.5% annually. Rents in London increased 4.3% year-on-year.

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Number of rental properties to be increased through £43 million fund

The Scottish Government has announced it will provide £30 million of funding to help boost the number of properties being built for private rent.

Investment will be provided to Edinburgh property group Sigma through the Building Scotland Fund, which was set up last year to provide loans at commercial rates as a precursor to the Scottish National Investment Bank.

The £30 million will contribute towards a £43 million Scottish Private Rental Sector Fund set up by Sigma to increase the number of rental properties in Scotland.

It is estimated the funding will enable an additional 1,800 properties to be built for private rent across the country.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Renting accommodation is becoming a long-term option for many people, at many stages of life, for example when starting a family or when retiring.

“We want everyone who rents to be able to live in a house that suits their needs and in an area where they want to live, including near family, friends or schools.

“We want people to have the security to make that house their home – whether they are looking for a house for three years or 30 years.”

She added: “The Private Residential Tenancy already offers greater security for tenants, balanced with appropriate safeguards for landlords and investors.

“These additional new properties to the sector can give people long-term security and the confidence they are renting from an experienced, professional management company.

“The additional long-term stability these properties provide will make a huge difference for many households, especially those wanting to create a family home and settle into a community.”

Graham Barnet, Sigma chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have the support of the Scottish Government’s Building Scotland Fund.

“Our approach to housing delivery has been working extremely well in England and is helping to deliver thousands of new houses for the private rental market.

“We see significant demand for our high-quality, professionally managed homes in Scotland and look forward to using this new fund to assist in addressing Scotland’s housing needs.

“We are also continuing to explore other opportunities to extend our business model.”

The planned investment follows First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s comments at the SNP conference in Edinburgh that a £150 million scheme would be established to provide loans to help first-time buyers with deposits.

The scheme would offer first-time buyers loans of up to £25,000 to fund or top up their deposit.

Source: Herald Scotland

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One in ten rental properties listed on Zoopla specify ‘no benefits tenants’

One in ten rental properties being advertised on Zoopla explicitly exclude anyone who is claiming benefits, research claims.

Analysis by the National Housing Federation (NHF) of 85,912 properties listed for rent across England on Zoopla this year found 8,710 that openly said “No DSS” or similar.

Separately, Shelter has conducted a mystery shopping exercise on Gumtree and SpareRoom.co.uk, finding that applicants who mentioned that they were claiming benefits were more than twice as likely to get negative responses as those who did not.

While it is not unlawful to refuse to let to people on benefits, Shelter has earlier argued that excluding benefit claimants is discriminatory and has been rumoured to be considering a legal case under the Equality Act.

The issue has prompted much debate on EYE, with agents stating it is landlords who want this exclusion due to the perceived higher risks of rental arrears, while groups such as the Residential Landlords Association have blamed the terms and conditions set by mortgage lenders.

The NHF said that the “blatant discrimination” against people on benefits must stop.

It has issued a series of recommendations.

It calls for agents and their professional bodies to ensure all renters are treated equally, and that such exclusions are refused on listings sites.

It also wants landlords to stop using letting agents who advise against letting to tenants on housing benefit. The NHF said landlords should instead assess each tenant based on the property and whether they can afford it, rather than where the money comes from.

The NHF said: “We are calling on everyone involved in the lettings industry to take action to stop the unfair treatment of people who claim housing benefit.

“This change requires agents, landlords, mortgage lenders, insurance providers and the Government to commit to ensuring that all renters are treated equally, regardless of whether they claim housing benefit.”

Separately, Universal Credit has been blamed for a spike in buy-to-let mortgages that are in significant arrears.

Data from UK Finance shows that the number of buy-to-let loans with more significant arrears of 10% or more was up 3% annually to 1,150.

Mark Pilling, managing director at Spicerhaart Corporate Sales, which deals with arrears and repossessions on behalf of lenders, said these figures suggest issues with Universal Credit are starting to impact landlords.

He said: “Last month, the Residential Landlords Association revealed that 61% of landlords with tenants receiving Universal Credit have had problems with non-payment and arrears, and on average, these tenants owe 49% more than they did a year ago.

“Universal Credit has been plagued by problems since it was introduced, and while the Government announced in the Budget that more money will be dedicated to the new welfare system, it is clear that much of the damage has already been done.

“Many claimants experienced huge delays in receiving their money, forcing them into arrears, and many are receiving far less than they did with the old system, which means in many cases they simply do not have enough money to pay their rent on their reduced incomes.

“From a lender’s point of view, it is important that they keep a close eye on their buy-to-let customers who have tenants who are on or are soon to be moved on to Universal Credit so they are able to work out the best solution for those who are struggling so that repossession is a last resort.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Lack of supply pushes rents outside of London to £800 per month

Typical asking rents outside London have hit £800 per month for the first time.

There was a quarterly rent rise of 0.8%, the biggest jump recorded in this time of year since 2015.

Notably there are 8.7% fewer rental properties available compared to this time last year and 19.4% fewer in London.

The slowdown in the buy-to-let market has contributed to this lack of choice, as there was a 14% drop in mortgage approvals compared to the same period last year and a 53% fall from three years ago.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s commercial director and housing market analyst, said: “Rental demand is currently outstripping supply in many locations, especially in the capital.

“The exit of more landlords from the buy-to-let market in recent years has been due to a raft of different factors, from the more onerous tax regime and more stringent borrowing criteria, to the higher stamp duty on second home purchases and extra legal obligations.

“What we’re left with is a lack of available homes for tenants looking to find their next place to rent, meaning that when the right kind of property does come along it isn’t sticking around for very long before it’s snapped up.”

Shipside added: “Although some of the shortfall in supply will be met by quality housing provided by Build to Rent schemes in the coming years, it’s likely stock shortages will remain in areas with a high concentration of renters.

“Given this backdrop and rents likely to rise, private landlords should try and look beyond the current challenges if they can and stay in the sector.

“If they concentrate on improving the spec of their existing properties and buy better quality accommodation to add to their portfolios, tenant demand should steadily improve rental yields.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Buy To Let A Strong Investment For Most

The majority of buy to let investors still see buy to let as a good strong investment, with 56 per cent looking to keep or buy more rental properties.

The majority of landlords still see the sector as offering a good money making opportunity. However, there is concern that it will decline in the future with 44 per cent looking to sell. For those who are looking to leave the sector, 24 per cent are blaming falling yields. 23 per cent are concerned about tax changes and 19 per cent blame a decline in house prices.

60 per cent of landlords feel that property management had become a burden, likely because of growing regulation in the sector. 61 per cent of buy to let investors undervalued the costs that were involved.

However, some of those who are planning to sell their portfolio will remain involved in property, with 27 per cent planning to invest the money into their main property compared to a third who are thinking of re-investing in another asset class.

A significant regional divide was noted in terms of the best performing areas. Analysis from Octopus Choice revealed that typical rental properties in London cost landlords over £1,250 per annum for the first five years. While there are still hotspots such as Tower Hamlets, Barnet and Hackney, three quarters of landlords in the capital think buy to let investment will be less worthwhile in five years.

In Scotland and the East Midlands returns were more plentiful. Scottish landlords saw average annual returns of 8.8 per cent on their investment over an eight-year period, while those in the East Midlands return 8.2 per cent, making buy to let still a strong investment.

Head of Octopus Choice, Sam Handfield-Jones, said: ‘Brits still have an incessant love affair with bricks and mortar – but the hassle and cost of buy to let is a source of growing frustration, and some landlords may find that their once reliable day-to-day income is becoming harder and harder to come by. But this isn’t the case across all parts of the market, with money still to be made from the right property in the right region.’

Source: Residential Landlord

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Thousands Of Buy To Let Property Investments Sold

Almost 4,000 buy to let properties per month are being sold by property investors as part of the first recorded fall in the number of rental properties in 18 years.

New official figures from the Ministry of Housing report found that around 3,800 buy to let homes are being sold by landlords each month. This is due to changes in mortgage interest tax relief, which continue to have a negative effect on the buy to let market.

Landlords’ profits have been negatively affected by a plethora of tax and regulatory changes over the last few years. These changes range from the removal of the ‘wear and tear’ allowance for rental properties and the implementation of the 3 per cent Stamp Duty surcharge.

Chief executive of letting agent trade body ARLA Propertymark, David Cox, said: ‘The barrage of legislative changes landlords have faced over the past few years has meant the buy to let market is becoming increasingly unattractive to investors. Landlords are either hiking rents for tenants or choosing to exit the market altogether to avoid facing the increased costs incurred.’

The vast numbers of landlords leaving the buy to let market has lead to a chronic shortage of properties available to rent in certain parts of the country. The disparity is felt particularly acutely in London where rental demand is high.

CEO of Shojin Property Partners, Jatin Ondhia, commented: ‘As a result of the government’s increase in stamp duty, it is now much more costly to acquire a buy to let property. A £250,000 investment property will incur stamp duty of £10,000 compared to £2,500 for an owner occupier. Many landlords have seen their profits eroded by the increased burden of taxation and regulation. They are also facing poor buy to let yields especially in London for example, where they are between just 2-3 per cent, while nationwide the average yields are between 6-8 per cent.’

Source: Residential Landlord

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Supply of rental property continues to fall

Despite rising demand, housing levels in Britain’s private rented sector are dwindling, highlighting the need for more investment in purpose-built rental property for the country’s growing number of tenants.

Summary:

  • Up to 4,000 traditional buy-to-let rental properties are being sold each month by private landlords
  • New taxes introduced to curb buy-to-let investment are forcing more second property owners to sell due to rising costs
  • At a time when more people are renting their homes, it is imperative that greater levels of investment is put into the purpose-built rental sector

The gap between supply and demand levels of UK rental property continues to widen.

Close to 4,000 traditional buy-to-let rental properties are being sold in the UK each month, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Housing. In total, supply fell by 46,000 properties in 2017, the first recorded decline in rental homes in the country for 18 years.

The reduction in the availability of buy-to-let homes, often older properties on the outskirts of city centres originally intended for owner-occupiers, comes at a time when private landlords are being faced with increasing costs. Two years ago, a series of new tax measures, including a 3% rise in stamp duty on buy-to-let purchases, came into effect, decreasing profit levels.

As a result, it’s prompted many landlords to leave the market. Recent figures from UK Finance highlight a 19% fall in new mortgages approved for buy-to-let homes in the UK.

These findings back up those published earlier in August 2018 from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, who believe that this falling supply at a time when the demand for rental accommodation continues to rise will drive rental prices up 15% by 2023.

Increased taxation aims to shift the focus away from the outdated buy-to-let sector and grow investment in the purpose-built rental sector. These homes, located in prime city centre locations with the best facilities, are the properties that modern tenants will pay premiums to access.

Source: Select Property