The race is on for BTL investors

The race is on for BTL investors

The latest Nationwide house price index has revealed a recent spike in mortgage approvals, hitting a two year high in January as BTL investors rush to complete before April. According to Nationwide, prices increased on average by 0.3% in February, while growth for the year rose to 4.8%.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: “The number of mortgages approved for house purchase increased sharply in January to almost 75,000, up from around 71,000 approvals in December and the highest number since January 2014.

However, much of the increase is likely to be related to the impending increase in Stamp Duty on second homes which is due to take effect in April 2016. This is likely to have brought forward a significant number of purchases, which in turn will probably result in a fall back in approvals during the spring/summer."

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, had this to say: "The race is on for second home and buy-to-let buyers to complete before April’s stamp duty hike. The resulting spike in demand sent the number of mortgage approvals surging in January, and has sparked high levels of competition for typical buy-to-let properties – flats and terraced houses in popular rental areas.

But while the scale and pace of buyer activity has been prodigious, price growth has remained fairly steady.

All of which begs the question – what will happen once the stamp duty scramble is over? The chronic shortage of supply is likely to continue nudging up prices, even after the pre-April stimulus fades."


Mark Posniak, Managing Director at Dragonfly Property Finance, said: "It's hard to know if the April stamp duty deadline will be a speed bump for the market or a speed boost. Demand from buy-to-let investors will fall away during March but first time buyers could arrive in numbers.
 
The age-old opponent of first time buyers, the landlord, has effectively been red-carded and the playing field is now theirs. As the buy-to-let purge starts in earnest, the appallingly low home ownership rate for younger people may well pick up. With Bank rate seemingly set in stone for 2016, and people confident about their jobs, demand is unlikely to wane.
 
Demand is also being driven by the age-old fear of being priced out of the market. It's especially pronounced in London and the South East. While February’s growth rate was benign, the market is likely to pick up in the spring and summer due to the continued imbalance between supply and demand.
 
The ebb and flow of the property market is difficult to predict at the best of times but with the possibility of Brexit and the April stamp duty change impacting landlords, it's bordering on the impossible."

Alex Gosling, CEO, online estate agents HouseSimple.com, added: "This could be the storm before the calm. February house price growth is being driven by the buy-to-let gold rush - investors trying to get in before the stamp duty hike. March is likely to be more of the same, as time is running out. It will be interesting to see what happens in April, which is historically a buoyant time for the housing market. We are walking into the unknown, and there's a chance that demand will drop like a stone.

But with less buy-to-let investors snapping up properties from beneath the noses of traditional home buyers, we could well see a surge in first time buyers coming to the market. Home buyer demand has always been there, but they have often struggled to compete against committed investors, many of whom can buy for cash.

Now they're fighting on a more level playing field, we could well see the drop off in investor numbers replaced by a surge in first time buyer numbers."

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Latest Comments

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG
NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14
Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Mark
Mark 01 Mar 2017

Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read
Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

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James Powell
James Powell 27 Feb 2017

This is a very good news.

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DanHumphreys
DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

It sounds like a good idea. Anything to help the younger generation get a foothold.

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

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