Buy-to-let boom: Number of landlords and investors hits record high

 

Surprising new figures have revealed the true performance of the buy-to-let market, with the number of UK landlords hitting an all-time high of 2.5 million in the last tax year – proving that, despite the headlines, the sector is very much open for business.
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The number of landlords in the UK has risen by 27% over the past five years, from 1.97 million in the 2011-12 tax year to 2.5 million today, according to research published by estate agent Ludlow Thompson.

Importantly, the figures have also revealed a 5% increase in the number of landlords operating in the sector over the past year, while buy-to-let investors now own an average of 1.8 properties each – another hike on previous years.

The results come in spite of recent changes to the sector which have arguably made life more difficult for some landlords and investors, and which have led many to worry about the future of the buy-to-let industry.

What’s changed?

One of the biggest changes to affect those buying additional properties has been the introduction of the 3% stamp duty surcharge, which was brought in from April 2016 and affects anyone purchasing a further residential property for £40,000 or more.

Obtaining borrowing on buy-to-let properties has also been made more challenging after the Bank of England tightened rules for lenders, with landlords now having to prove that their rental income will exceed 125% of the mortgage costs, or 145% for higher earners. Portfolio landlords also face having their entire property portfolio assessed by lenders when considering a new mortgage.

Finally, the government is cutting mortgage interest tax relief, which will affect the bottom lines of some landlords.

The bigger, brighter picture…

However, with the new data showing that in fact more landlords than ever before are investing in residential property,  the industry on the whole remains strong, according to Ludlow Thompson chairman Stephen Ludlow, who said:

“Even taking into account the implementation of government changes to buy-to-let tax relief, there are a number of tax reliefs available to landlords.”

He added: “The level of buy-to-let mortgage lending shows the sector’s continued resilience. Additionally, the difference is likely to be much smaller as the figures do not include investors that have incorporated, refinanced, or made additional purchases using commercial loans.”

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Buy-to-let boom: Number of landlords and investors hits record high

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