New research reveals over half a million homes could be put up for sale this year as landlords exit the market

Warren Lewis
13th January 2020

According to newly released research from landlord insurance provider, Simply Business, as many as 26% of UK landlords plan to cash in on at least one property this year, potentially putting over half a million homes up for sale.

The data from a survey of 800 landlords revealed that with uncertain market conditions, 82% of landlords are not planning on buying any more properties in 2020. Just 13% said they would buy another property this year, while 35% also reported a decrease in their rental yield in 2019.

The top reasons landlords gave for wanting to sell are tax increases and government reform, such as shifting House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing, which added new stipulations on the minimum size of rooms, as well as banning of admin fees. Well over a tenth cited these as their reasons.

Other reasons that landlords gave for planning to sell include rising rental costs (10%), cashing in on their investment (9%), economic instability (5%) and slowing house price growth (4%). This comes after a third (35%) also reported a decrease in their rental yield in 2019, which adds to the desire to sell.

A fifth (20%) reported a decrease of 0-5%, just under one in 10 (9%) reported a decrease of 5-10% and 3% of landlords reported a decrease of 10-15%.

Looking ahead to this year, over a quarter (27%) of landlords expect to see a further decrease in their rental yield in 2020. One in five (18%) expect to see a decrease of 0-5%, and a further 6% of landlords expect to see a decrease of 5-10%. Only 2% of landlords expect to see a decrease of 10-15%. However, half (52%) are still optimistic and expect their rental yield to increase in 2020.

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, commented: “Landlords around the country are telling us that government reforms, tax increases, and rising rental costs are forcing them to put their investments up for sale. The tax increases imposed by the government are proving counter-productive for landlords, while ongoing political and economic uncertainty hasn’t been providing landlords with the confidence they need to stay in the market. But selling a buy-to-let is a big decision, especially if you’re selling more than one.

“Any landlord looking to sell up should make sure they understand the complexities surrounding buy-to-let sales, particularly if the property is occupied. Any tenants should be made aware of plans to sell as early as possible, and given reassurance their tenancy still stands. When it comes to selling, landlords need to understand any tax implications involved, such as capital gains tax. If the property is sold for more than it was paid for, there will be a capital gains tax liability.”

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