Mortgage advisors report short term uncertainty over growth of buy to let in UK

Taylor Scott International News

Buy to let volumes in the UK increased in the first quarter of 2016 but uncertainty remains over the long term, according to the latest financial advisor confidence tracking report. The increase in the volume of buy to let business being written by mortgage advisers was modest in the first three months of the year and financial advisors have concerns about the longer term prospects for the market. Those surveyed for the Paragon Mortgages report said that 24% of their business in the first quarter 2016 consisted of buy- to let, up from 23% in the previous quarter. Volumes of first time and next time buyers also increased. Reflecting these increases, remortgages declined from 35% of intermediary business in the previous quarter, to 32% currently. The report suggests that recent government policy has affected confidence in future business, however, with 13% of respondents expecting all types of mortgage business to decrease over the coming quarter, while 53% expect business to remain stable and 34% expect an increase. On buy to let, opinion is evenly divided with 49% of intermediaries expecting demand for buy to let products to increase or stay the same, as compared to 50% who expect a decline in demand with 1% unsure. Despite this uncertainty the number of intermediaries stating that landlords will ‘keep current properties but not buy any more’ as a result of changes to income tax relief, has nearly halved from 32% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 18% currently, indicating that purchase intentions may be returning to the buy to let market. Likewise 23% of intermediaries stated that changes to tax relief would make ‘no difference’ to landlord plans, up from 19% in the previous quarter. Remortgages continue to constitute the largest proportion of buy to let business in the first quarter of 2016, accounting for 38% of business, up from 36%. Nevertheless, some 32% of new buy to let finance was secured for portfolio expansion. ‘Our latest report reveals that advisers are circumspect about future volumes of buy to let business as a result of recent policy developments. Over the short term around half of intermediaries expect to see a decline in buy to let business,’ said John Heron, director of mortgages at Paragon. ‘That said, on the question of what impact income tax changes will have over the longer term, sentiment appears to have improved materially over the last quarter with a sharp reduction in the proportion of landlords that are expected to sell property,’ he pointed out. ‘Increased volumes of remortgaging in the buy to let market shows that there is healthy competition with landlords shopping around for a better deal. Whether the market remains as competitive once all the fiscal and regulatory changes are implemented remains to be seen,’ he added. Meanwhile, new figures released today by the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) show that the number of second charge mortgage repossessions in the first quarter of 2016 was down 52.8%… Taylor Scott International

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