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BTL brokers showing increased confidence

Four out of 10 BTL brokers expect to write more business in the next 12 months, Paragon Bank’s Financial Adviser Confidence Tracker (FACT) Index has revealed.

The survey of more than 200 intermediaries showed that 41% of advisors said they expect more buy-to-let business, a slight dip on the 43% recorded in the first quarter of 2020, but up on the 38% from the final quarter of last year.

Just over a quarter (28%) of intermediaries expect buy-to-let mortgage levels to remain stable.

Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank Managing Director of Mortgages, said: “Despite the buffeting that coronavirus has caused to the mortgage market, and housing sector more broadly, there is clearly still strong and stable demand for buy-to-let via intermediaries, which is reflected in the results of this survey.

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“We have seen a solid rebound in buy-to-let business since the housing market reopened in mid-May and landlords have been unlocking capital to invest and grow their portfolios further. We expect to see increased demand for rented property underpinning growth in the coming months as people delay house purchase or cannot obtain a mortgage with the removal of higher loan to value products in the residential market.”

Of those intermediaries forecasting an increase in buy-to-let business, confidence was stronger amongst directly authorised firms (46%) than appointed representatives (36%). Confidence was also firmer in sole adviser organisations (47%) than firms with between two to three advisers (34%) and four or more advisers (37%).

Richard added: “Coronavirus has had a clear and damaging impact on the economy and the UK as a whole, but the long-term fundamentals underpinning demand for buy-to-let remain unchanged. The UK has a growing population with increasing numbers of households and the private rented sector will provide a good quality home for many of them.”

Source: Property118

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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.

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“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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Buy-to-let activity was strong in Q1

Buy-to-let house purchases increased by 7% in Q1 2020 year-on-year, UK Finance figures show.

Contrastingly first-time buyer numbers fell – resulting in overall mortgage lending being flat year-on-year.

John Goodall, chief executive at Landbay, said: “Buy-to-let started the year really strongly and this is reflected in the UK Finance figures.

“January and February saw really strong demand for new purchases.; UK Finance shows a 7% year-on-year increase, but what we saw was significantly in excess of that.

“While the Coronavirus lockdown from mid-March has hampered this, there is still a notable demand from landlords and investors.

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“What these figures don’t show is the effect of payment holidays. While there is demand, borrowers who are trying to take out new mortgages whilst also taking payment holidays on existing parts of their portfolio may find it harder to buy than they did before.

“While there is no chance that we will jump straight back to the numbers we saw at the start of the year, as soon as confidence returns the market should also return to normal, although I don’t expect a ‘V’ shaped recovery, but a longer, more gradual increase.”

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Following a subdued year in the mortgage market in 2019, any signs we might have seen of improving confidence translating into increased homemover activity at the turn of this year have currently been overtaken by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This review does not capture the various support measures to households that the industry has enacted, such as three-month payment holidays and a repossession moratorium.

“By mid-May approximately 1.8 million mortgage payment deferrals had been arranged for customers.

“Similar payment holidays for personal loans and credit cards were introduced at the end of March and will be reviewed in depth in our next household finance review.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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85% of buy-to-let lenders still lending

Some 42 of the 49 buy-to-let lenders operating at the beginning of March are still lending despite the impact of coronavirus, analysis from Mortgages for Business shows.

Together Money and Vida Homeloans have both pulled out of the market, while HSBC is no longer accepting buy-to-let applications.

However Santander, Clydesdale, Precise Mortgages and Kent Reliance have now restarted lending, after initially taking a step back.

Shawbrook and Paragon meanwhile are using virtual valuations against standard properties up to 75% loan-to-value.

Steve Olejnik, managing director of Mortgages for Business said: “Lenders have cut down the sorts of landlords that they will lend to.

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“They’re pulling product ranges, tighten 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.

“My advice to landlords looking to remortgage is act sooner, rather than later. You may have to answer a few more questions when you’re applying for a remortgage that you would have had to last month – but a broker will still be able to find you a deal.”

Saffron Building Society withdrew from the market before the outbreak in March, though the lender has indicated that it will return to the market later in the year.

Lenders that have stopped lending to landlords since include: HSBC; Foundation Home Loans; Together Money; Vida Home Loans; Platform Home Loans; State Bank of India; and Furness Building Society.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Londoners still have faith in buy-to-let

Despite falling yields in the city 82% of Londoners think buy-to-let would be a good investment.

Uncertainty due to Brexit (33%) and increased tax and stamp duty rates (38%) are the main reasons Londoners are put off investing.

The research comes from Perrys Chartered Accountants.

Donna McCreadie, a buy-to-let tax specialist at Perrys, said: “Buy-to-let is still a solid long term investment despite what current market indications and the drop off in purchases might suggest.

“It’s interesting that the younger generation still sees it as a way to plan financially for the future.

“However, there are many things to consider before jumping in, including stamp duty charges, how income tax might be affected and what the return on the investment is likely to be.”

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McCreadie added: “Investing in a property is a long term plan rather than a quick fix to financial freedom so it’s important to gather as much information as possible and speak to a professional tax specialist and mortgage advisor before making a commitment.”

The most likely type of property a Londoner would consider for a rental investment would be a flat or apartment, with 46% picking this option.

Some 30% would choose a two-bedroom house and 17% a house with three bedrooms or more. London is hit the hardest by stamp duty due to the higher value properties in the city.

A reduction in stamp duty and other relevant taxes (43%) would do most to encourage Londoners to buy rental property.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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More UK women investing in buy-to-let properties

The number of women investing in buy-to-let properties in the UK has increased slightly to almost half the total, a new study has found.

Women now account for 47% of the 2.5 million buy-to-let investors in the UK up from 46% the year before, narrowing the gender gap in the investment class, according to the research by London estate agents Ludlowthompson.

The number of female residential property landlords rose by 5% to 1.2 million for the 2016/17 tax year, up from 1.1 million the previous year, according to the latest available HMRC data.

The narrowing of the gender gap in buy-to-let investment reflects how property has become an increasingly popular investment among women Ludlowthompson said.

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The company cited research from Kings College London that suggests that women are generally less likely to make high-risk investments. The relatively transparent business model, regular pay-outs, and low price volatility associated with buy-to-let property as opposed to shares has contributed to the rise in popularity of the asset class among women.

The narrowing of the gender gap among buy-to-let investors stands in contrast to the gender split across other asset classes such as cryptocurrency where women represent just 8.5% of investments, and stocks and shares ISAs where women account for only 43%, owning 957,000 shares ISAs compared with 1.2 million men.

Stephen Ludlow, chairman of Ludlowthompson, said: “The buy-to-let sector has a reputation of providing stable, long-term returns. Whilst some investors have become distracted by more speculative investments, buy-to-let continues to build increasing interest amongst investors who value income and long-term growth.

“It may not be long before we see a 50/50 gender split amongst buy-to-let investors, which is significant given the much wider gaps in other asset classes, such as equities.”

By Kalila Sangster

Source: Yahoo News UK