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Northern regions remain strong for buy-to-let investment

Buy-to-let properties in the North continue to present an attractive investment opportunity for landlords, offering some of the highest price rises and rental yields.

The UK house price index for February showed the North West was the English region with the highest annual price growth. Average prices in the region rose by 11.9 per cent to £184,351 in the year to February, up from 10.5 per cent in the month before.

By comparison, London saw the lowest annual growth, where average prices increased by 4.6 per cent over the year to February, down from 5.7 per cent in January.

Rental yields in Q1 2021 were also highest in the North, particularly in the North East (9.1 per cent), Yorkshire and Humberside (8.2 per cent) and North West (7.8 per cent), according to data.

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Angus Stewart said: “For landlords it is all about yield – how much rental income versus the price they pay for the property.

“For quite some time this has meant a shift away from London and the South East where historic higher house prices have outweighed the rental income available. This has been exacerbated by the Covid crisis that has hit rental income in London in particular.

“So, it’s not surprising to see in these figures house prices have been rising in the North West and Yorkshire in particular as investors chase those higher yields. At the moment these areas still look attractive for landlords as they are providing the rental income and the opportunity for capital appreciation.”

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Average rental yields by region, Q1 2021

RegionAverage rental yield
North East9.1%
Yorkshire and Humberside8.2%
North West7.8%
East Midlands6.7%
West Midlands6.5%
South West6.0%
Wales5.8%
East Anglia5.6%
South East5.1%
Greater London5.0%

Anthony Rose added: “Buy-to-let investors are viewing areas in the North as having very strong rental yields and the opportunity for further house price growth.

“As currently they only have to pay the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge, this is offering very attractive investment opportunities with relatively small initial capital outlays, which is further increasing demand in these areas.”

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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Holiday let deals surge – can supply keep up with demand?

A jump in the sale of homes for holiday let purposes has corresponded with an increase in mortgage options for borrowers keen to cash on this flourishing areas of the buy-to-let market.

This is according to the latest data from Moneyfacts.co.uk which has revealed a ‘notable’ rise in the number of buy-to-let options for holiday lets over the past six months.

The figures are released as prospects of Brits being able to travel overseas for holidays this year continued to look uncertain.

Moneyfacts revealed today mortgage options for borrowers looking at holiday lets had grown by 45% in the past six months and product availability was double that in August 2020.

The analysis drew on research from Hodge Bank, which showed, over the past six months, there had been a surge in sales of holiday homes near the coast.

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Moneyfacts said the abundance of holiday let products had returned to levels seen a year ago. However, supply of housing overall meant the market was failing to keep up with demand.

According to Rightmove, new listings of properties overall were not satisfying record buyer demand, with available stock down nationally by 25% year-on-year.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “Consumers may have taken some time to reflect on staycations in light of uncertainties surrounding international travel and how a holiday let could be a worthy investment.

“Lenders have moved over the past six months to cater to the demand for those looking to invest in property, as there has been a rise in holiday let deals of 45%, and product availability has in fact doubled since August 2020.”

Buy-to-let mortgage market analysis 
BTL options available(fixed and variable)Mar-20Aug-20Oct-20Now
Available to holiday let16274103149
Lenders offering holiday let deals20141721
Average fixed rate available to holiday let3.37%3.53%3.79%3.95%
Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk

Trends

According to Moneyfacts it is the building societies which seem more likely to provide the deals to meet the growing demand – whether for someone who uses their own home or takes out a new loan to fund the holiday let investment.

Springall cited research from Hodge Bank, which revealed of those purchasing a holiday home, 65% took out a new holiday let specific mortgage and 35% remortgaged their existing home to finance their holiday home.

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Supply and demand

Springall added: “Supply and demand may well be a key issue in 2021 for investors who feel staycations are here to stay awhile yet, and indeed according to Rightmove, national new listings stock is down 25% year-on-year.

“Any lack of holiday home opportunities will come as frustrating news for investors considering the return of holiday let deals on to the market, especially as sales figures nationally are rising and some consumers have more disposable income from lockdown and are therefore ready to invest.

“Data from PropertyMark cited that one in nine properties nationally sell more than the asking price, with recent figures hitting a five-year high.

“Clearly, for any opportunities that prospective borrowers are contemplating, it is wise they approach an independent qualified financial adviser to go through the deals currently available and to get some valuable insight into the workings of a holiday let, including tax benefits, rules regarding residency periods, rental income desirability and requirements, and other potential expenses outside of utility bills.”

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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These 10 UK cities are the most profitable for buy to let landlords

CIA Landlord has revealed its annual ranking of the best UK cities to buy to let for 2021, with some areas proving to be more profitable than others. The analysis is based on the average property price, mortgage cost, average rent income, and the monthly costs of being a landlord to calculate the monthly profit. Listed are the 10 cities with the highest monthly earnings for landlords.

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  1. Brighton
    Average property price: £410,541. Average rent: £2,044. Monthly mortgage cost: £1,411. Monthly profit: £571.85
  2. Bangor
    Average property price: £185,833. Average rent: £1,193. Monthly mortgage cost: £639. Monthly profit: £500.53.
  3. Portsmouth
    Average property price: £243,945.. Average rent: £1,379. Monthly mortgage cost: £838. Monthly profit: £479.27.
  4. Leeds
    Average property price: £228,424. Average rent: £1,323. Monthly mortgage cost: £785. Monthly profit: £477.60.
  5. Lancaster
    Average property price: £210,979. Average rent: £873. Monthly mortgage cost: £725. Monthly profit: £474.54.
  6. Bristol
    Average property price: £344,667. Average rent: £1,699. Monthly mortgage cost: £1,184. Monthly profit: £453.20.
  7. Coventry
    Average property price: £209,309. Average rent: £1,213. Monthly mortgage cost: £719. Monthly profit: £432.27.
  8. Manchester
    Average property price: £200,517. Average rent: £1,176. Monthly mortgage cost: £689. Monthly profit: £425.48.
  9. Nottingham
    Average property price: £225,917. Average rent: £1,248. Monthly mortgage cost: £776. Monthly profit: £410.21.
  10. Salford
    Average property price: £172,622. Average rent: £1,048. Monthly mortgage cost: £593. Monthly profit: £393.33.

By Claire Schofield

Source: The Scotsman

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BTL mortgage availability at pandemic high

The availability of buy-to-let mortgages has remained relatively high during the pandemic, giving landlords cause for optimism, according to Moneyfacts.

Figures from the data provider showed there were 1,976 buy-to-let products available in mid-January, fewer than before the pandemic began but more than the 1,455 available in May.

The provider also suggested lender confidence as the number of deals available in the 80 per cent LTV tier has risen by 26 since December.

Average rates have also increased, with two- and five-year fixed rates standing at 2.92 per cent and 3.29 per cent respectively for all LTV brackets, the highest levels recorded by the provider since November 2019.

But Eleanor Williams, finance expert at Moneyfacts, warned the market has been “volatile” since the start of this year.

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She said: “Lenders have been adjusting their offerings and consequently availability continues to fluctuate – there are now 27 fewer mortgage products on offer than there were just a couple of weeks ago, and so those considering exploring a new BTL mortgage could do well to secure the knowledge and advice of a qualified adviser, to ensure they keep abreast of any relevant changes.”

Buy-to-let mortgage market analysis

PRODUCT NUMBERSJan-20Mar-20May-20Dec-20Jan-2115.1.21
BTL product count – fixed and variable rates2,5832,8971,4551,8182,0031,976
All 80% LTV BTL products – fixed and variable rates2973681974100100
AVERAGE RATESJan-20Mar-20May-20Dec-20Jan-2115.1.21
BTL two-year fixed – all LTVs2.82%2.77%2.51%2.89%2.89%2.92%
BTL five-year fixed – all LTVs3.19%3.24%2.94%3.25%3.27%3.29%
Data shown is as at first working day of month, unless otherwise stated. Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has meanwhile highlighted the opportunity for remortgage business from landlords who took out five-year deals before the stamp duty surcharge was introduced in 2016.

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The trade association predicted the five-year anniversary of the surcharge would enable demand in the mortgage market to stay strong this year despite the end of the stamp duty holiday.

A survey by Paragon Bank also found that half of buy-to-let brokers said they would focus on five-year remortgage business when the stamp duty holiday ends.

But Kevin Dunn, director at Furnley House, commented that he expected demand to fall.

Mr Dunn said: “Whilst demand has remained strong in this area over the last six months, I expect demand in buy-to-let mortgages to decrease once the stamp duty holiday ends at the end of March, however not quite in the same way it fell off a cliff when the stamp duty surcharge was announced at the beginning of 2016.”

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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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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Manchester is top UK location for buy-to-let investment

Manchester has been revealed as the top location for buy-to-let investment, according to Aldermore’s Buy-to-Let City Tracker.

Cambridge was noted as the second best location for BTL investment and London as the third.

The tracker analysed 50 cities from across the UK and assessed the best location based on average total rent, the best short-term returns through yield, long-term return through house price growth over the past decade, the lowest number of vacancies as a proportion of total housing stock, and percentage of the city population in the rental market.

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According to the lender, significant investment in commercial and residential developments over the past five years in Manchester contributed to it being the top BTL investment location.

The cities main selling points for private landlords include rental returns and long-term house price growth, but more importantly it has one of the biggest rental markets in the UK, with 31% of Manchester’s population being private renters.

In addition, it has low vacancy rates, above average rental prices and property prices increased by 4.1% annually.

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Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution at Aldermore, said: “There has been a high level of uncertainty for landlords since the COVID-19 outbreak and they have had to continuously adapt to a raft of challenges but, with so many working from home right now, it reinforces the importance of a robust and diverse private rented sector.

“The changing needs of renters, whether to move to a new location or a different type of property to fit flexible working demands, has created investment opportunities for landlords.

“The private rented sector is vital to the economy right now and its recovery from the pandemic so landlords should seek portfolio advice from their lenders to see how they can look at new ways to support the sector.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Rental Market Buoyant Except In London

Rents in London have fallen during the Coronavirus pandemic, property portal Zoopla has reported. However, London is the exception and rents risen in a buoyant rental market across the UK as a whole, it said.

‘Average rents in London have fallen by 5.2 per cent over the last 12 months, reaching levels last seen in 2014’, Zoopla found. It puts this down to ‘new working patterns and lack of tourism during pandemic’.

In contrast, rents increased outside London by 1.7 per cent and rental has increased by a fifth over last year – strong demand that is being driven by a squeeze on lending to potential first-time buyers, said Zoopla.

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‘At the same time, supply remains constrained with levels of investment in buy to let still reduced following the changes to Stamp Duty (the additional 3 per cent surcharge on second properties) and the wider tax regime introduced from 2016 onwards’.

Renters are showing increasing interest in larger properties, especially those that may have access to outside space.

‘The search for space, first seen in the sales market, is now being firmly replicated by renters. Zoopla’s top searches for rental properties include the terms gardens, parking, garages, balconies and pets, reflecting a need for outdoor space and freedom necessary to cope with lockdown. There is also evidence that while the market as a whole is moving more quickly, the market for rented houses is moving more quickly than that for rented flats, reflecting this desire for more space among renters’.

‘For most of the UK, the demand/supply gap is underpinning moderate levels of rental growth’, said Zoopla head of research Gráinne Gilmore.

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‘The split in the rental market caused by COVID-19 has now crystallised and we are seeing the two-speed market firmly entrenched.

‘We haven’t seen the exodus of students from cities and, as more people are staying in the rental market given the squeeze on mortgage lending, higher levels of demand will continue to underpin rents. At the same time however, muted earnings growth will start to limit the headroom for rental growth in some markets.

‘The search for additional space, both indoor and outdoor, within the rental sector is also set to continue as the country goes through additional periods of lockdown’

Source: Residential Landlord

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More landlords look to expand outside London and the South East

One in 10 landlords plan to purchase buy-to-let properties this year, up from 3% at the end last year, Source Business research shows.

The rise in landlord confidence and a change in tenant priorities following the lockdowns is leading investors to a move away from London and the South East, to less built-up areas.

Increasingly tenants want greater home working space and leisure time, resulting into a spike in demand for larger properties.

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Mish Liyanage, managing director of The Mistoria Group, said: “We are seeing a rise in professional landlords looking to acquire affordable terraced properties with gardens and apartments in the North West. Lower prices, high yields, expanding population and Northern Power house initiative/HS2 have contributed to this interest.

“A significant proportion of the professional landlords that we work with are located in the Midlands and the South, but want to invest in the North West, because of the attractive property prices, high yields and occupancy rates. Many investors are moving away from London and the South East and are searching for regions that give them exceptional returns.”

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At the end of 2019, 82% of landlords claimed that they had no plans to acquire another property in 2020, while just 3% were intending to add more than a single property to their portfolio.

Soon after the stamp duty holiday was implemented, 10% of landlords said they are now planning to purchase more properties and build on their portfolio, while just 5% said they had any intention to sell any existing properties.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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COVID-19 Impact on the Buy to Let Market

Due to the COVID-19 health pandemic, the UK is in a recession and many industries have been heavily impacted by lockdown restrictions and other factors that have prevented them from being able to operate as usual. The UK property market has seen some strange results, with house prices rising to an all-time high.

With Government initiatives such as the stamp duty holiday in place to help keep the property industry going, in September 2020, mortgage applications reached the highest rate they had been in 12 years.

However, property experts are predicting an imminent crash, particularly when more job redundancies take place, with an already rapidly increasing unemployment rate in the UK.

How is Coronavirus affecting the Buy to Let market?

It has been an unusual time for BTL Landlords and property owners. After facing big changes to tax relief changes over the last few years and also the requirement for capital gains tax bills to be paid within 30 days, they had already seen a lot of change.

However, the impact of COVID-19 has shaken up the UK property market even more. As part of the initial lockdown restrictions, property viewings were unable to take place and house moves not allowed. This naturally had a big impact on Landlords that were in the process of finding tenants.

In addition to this, the Government protected existing tenants by introducing an eviction ban which lasted for six months. This ban put many landlords into a very difficult situation where they were unable to take legal action against tenants that were unable to pay their rent, or who had broken the terms in their rental agreement in another way.

The ban was lifted on 20 September 2020 but landlords were told they must give tenants six months’ notice for any eviction. This has led to significant financial losses for many landlords who are losing out on rental income.

The Government also protected tenants by introducing rental payment holidays for tenants that were financially affected by the health pandemic.

Support for Buy to Let Landlords

While the Government prioritised the protection of tenants in these moves, they did also provide some measures to assist landlords. To help to deal with the financial impact of the tenant rent holiday, landlords were able to request mortgage payment holidays. However, this did not help landlords who owned the property outright and did not have a mortgage on the property.

A YouGov poll recently revealed that 22% of private landlord in England have lost rental income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The average loss was between £751 and £1,000 and there could still be a longer-term financial impact as the UK faces prolonged knock-on effects from COVID-19.

The current challenges Buy to Let Landlords face

The furlough scheme helped many tenants to keep up with their rent payments but with the scheme ending at the end of October and support packages only expected for businesses that are forced to close, many tenants will no longer be able to afford rented accommodation if their employer is forced to make them redundant.

The pandemic is affecting different areas of the country and different types of landlords in a variety of ways. For example, landlords who are renting to students are already seeing the impact of universities moving over to online learning or students choosing not to live in rented property while the pandemic continues.

There has also been a reduction in overseas students, who have been restricted by travel rules that would normally be looking to live in rented accommodation, so the current situation with university students is having a big impact on existing landlords who rent to students.

Many of these Buy to Let Landlords who have multiple properties in student areas that have been unable to fill their properties have had to adapt and change their tenant type. However, this itself can be costly, as the accommodation expectations of a young professional is usually going to be a bit higher than the expectations of students, so BTL Landlords are facing costs to give properties a refurb to raise the standards.

In areas where there have been stricter local lockdown restrictions, there is a bigger impact on jobs, so Buy to Let Landlords with properties in these hard-hit areas will face more challenges than those with properties in areas less affected.

Some BTL Landlords have made the decision to sell their property while the house prices are so high but this has not been possible for those landlords with tenants that they are unable to get to move out of the property.

What will happen to the Buy to Let market over the next 12-18 months?

While the current situation can feel very negative as a BTL Landlord or property investor, this situation will change and there will be brighter times ahead. With house prices being so high right now, it is not necessarily a good time to buy properties on the open market.

What we are likely to see however, is that there will be an increase in repossessions at some point in the future, with some properties going to auction and being available at good values. This of course represents a good opportunity for investors looking for a Buy to Let property without paying the current high property prices.

Buy to Let Opportunities when the housing crash happens

Property experts are anticipating a housing crash in the next 12- 18 months, and while there are differing predictions for the date this will happen, most predictions are falling within the 12-18 month time period.

What this means is that property investors looking to buy cheap properties and rent them out will be able to buy at a time when prices are much lower than usual. So, in the time leading up to this, these prospective landlords should be using their time wisely, to work out the best areas to buy property in and to factor into account the changes that COVID-19 has brought to the Buy to Let market. For example, the reduced demand for student accommodation and higher unemployment rates in the areas worst impacted by the pandemic.

What is happening to Buy to Let Mortgage rates?

In April, just after the first lockdown was imposed, the number of Buy to Let mortgage products fell considerably. The UK base rate now sits at 0.10%, meaning that interest rates for loans including mortgages are very attractive right now. However, after a very low dip in rates in July, mortgage rates have been increasing.

Research shows that rates have fallen for borrowers with existing investment properties, with the average two-year fixed rate at 75% reducing from 2.34% to 2.17% over the last 12 months.

These lower rates also present an opportunity for BTL Landlords to release some equity from their property or to benefit from re-mortgaging to secure a lower interest rate and therefore reduce their monthly mortgage repayment. There are definitely some good Buy to Let mortgage rates available and a broker can help you to find them.

Is Buy to Let still worth investing in?

Landlords are still able to make a good profit on renting properties and according to the Office of National Statistics private rental prices paid by tenants has increased by 1.5% in the 12 months up to August 2020. So, for those landlords who have not encountered the problems with tenants not paying rent, or not being able to fill student accommodation, this year is fairly positive from a rental price point of view.

Some property rental experts are predicting that there will be high demand for rental properties for the foreseeable future, due to the fact that many people will not be able to buy their own property. Therefore, BTL Landlords will be able to continue to make enough money to make it worthwhile doing.

For people who are considering getting into the Buy to Let industry for the first time, waiting for house prices to reduce and then taking advantage of favourable interest rates will provide a really good business opportunity.

When you are looking for the best Buy to Let interest rates, it is a good idea to use a specialist Buy to Let mortgage broker to help you to find the best deals available. When you take out a Buy to Let mortgage, the offer you receive will take into account how much rental income it is expected that the property will generate for you. So, if rental prices do continue to rise, this should enable you to get a Buy to Let mortgage offer that allows you to buy a property in an area where there should be high tenant demand.

Using a whole-of-market Buy to Let mortgage broker will give you access to some of the best Buy to Let mortgage deals available, many of which will not be available direct to borrower. Many brokers, such as UK Mortgage Broker have exclusive deals that will help you to keep mortgage payments to a minimum and therefore enable you to make more profit through renting a property out.

Another benefit of using a specialist BTL broker is that they can find you the maximum loan-to-value deals, which are ideal if you do not have a large amount of deposit to put down against the property. Find out more about the benefits using of a Buy to Let mortgage broker.

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Year-on-year yield strengthens in majority of UK regions

Rental yields have been strengthening in a majority of UK regions in Q3 according to the latest buy-to-let rental barometer.

The barometer shows rental yields on residential buy-to-let properties were 6.4% across England, up 0.4% from the 6% achieved in the third quarter of 2019.

The North East of England recorded the top rental yield regional figure for the quarter, up 2% year-on-year to 8.8%, whilst only the North West and the East Midlands showed slight drops in rental yields.

Last quarter only three regions posted positive rental yields over the period however seven regions, including the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside and the West Midlands, all posted increases.

Fleet said the overall data showed a more positive picture than three months ago, with a greater number of transactions and rental valuations “showing the strength of the private rental sector during the summer and through into autumn”.

The barometer highlighted the impact COVID-19 may potentially have on rental property within, and around, city centres with potentially tenants looking to live further away from those areas.

It suggested that curbs on foreign tourism may bring a greater supply of short-term lets to market in certain regions however an increase in ‘staycationing’ may ensure yields are not unduly impacted by the greater number of properties available.

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As with Q2 figures, this Q3 iteration of the Barometer does not include Wales as different lockdown rules apply.

Steve Cox, distribution director of Fleet Mortgages, said: “It’s clearly positive to see the majority of regions in England posting increases in rental yields, and those regions which have showed a very slight dip were already at relatively high levels to begin with.

“We learnt from the post-credit crunch period over a decade ago that rents are not as susceptible to a recession as property prices, with many occupants more willing to opt for the shorter-term financial commitment offered by renting than longer-term property ownership.

“While the economic backdrop is not pretty with the ongoing recession and uncertainty about the true impact on employment levels suggesting a negative outlook for rental demand, the early indications – as evidenced by our Barometer – are more promising with no suggestion of sharp falls in rental yields.

“Perhaps this is a result of pent-up demand and more households being formed as a result of the lockdown – we will get a better idea of the sustainability of this in the coming months.

“What we may however see, is further structural changes in rental demand, particularly in urban centres with tenants – who can now work from home – feeling they are no longer tied to a property near to the office, and may look further afield where they might get more for their money.

“However, we have not yet seen any evidence to suggest this is becoming a trend.

“Demand for rental property is clearly holding up in most regions and the underlying demographics suggest that property investment will remain a good choice in the years ahead.

“Within a shorter time-frame, the fact that – in England at least – the stamp duty holiday is available to landlord borrowers has undoubtedly been a factor in the increased interest in property investment purchases, with both new and existing landlords looking at the opportunities available, and seeking to secure the savings that are available from the holiday.

“Our next iteration of the Barometer will give us more evidence on the robustness of rental yields and whether the potential impacts of COVID-19 on households and living arrangements are playing out as they are perceived to be.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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