Predictions that landlords are not buying properties to let out because of tougher rental taxes and regulations appear to be short of the mark according to new mortgage data.
Statistics for December from UK Finance, the mortgage lenders’ trade body, suggest that there were 5,700 new buy to let home purchase mortgages completed in December – that’s 3.6 per cent more than this time last year.
There was also a small rise in first time buyer mortgages completed in December – 29,490 which was 0.3 per cent up on the same month a year earlier.
There were also 29,400 ‘home mover’ mortgages completed in December 2019, 3.2 per cent more than in December 2018.
“These figures reflect what was happening in the months leading up to the election so only show a more solid resilience in activity in what was still quite a turbulent period” notes Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman.
But he adds: “Of just as much interest is the strong increase in buy to let home purchases, which we also noticed on the ground as aspiring first-time buyers squeezed by strict lending criteria continued to rent. This has encouraged more landlords to expand their portfolios or join the sector.”
And Mike Scott, chief property analyst at online agency Yopa, says: “It takes a long time for an increase in buyer interest to feed through into mortgage completions … so this December figure demonstrates that the upturn in market activity must have started much earlier in the year.”