Landlords are becoming progressively more self-assured about expanding their rental portfolios; as rents rise, mortgage interest rates fall and demand for decent rental properties outstrips supply.
A number of reports nationally would suggest around a third of UK ‘portfolio’ landlords (i.e. landlords with more than one rental property) are actively looking to expand their rental portfolios in the next 12 to 18 months.
The pandemic has had a substantial change to what we want from a home. Many people think that relates just to homeowners, yet nothing could be further from the truth as it also applies to tenants.
Homeowner or tenant, many of us have spent a lot of time away from places of work. Many office workers face the outlook of the combination of working from home as well as at the office, meaning a change in what people look for in their home. People (including tenants) are looking for larger properties, with extra rooms for office space and decent-sized gardens or to be closer to outside green space.
So, let’s look at the ‘scores on the doors’ as to why landlords are on the up…
House prices are 20% higher than 5 years ago
Because some first-time buyers are being priced out of the market due to these house price rises, they are being forced back into the rental market. Add the extra demand of the 1 in 10 house sellers, who in the last 12 months have had to go into rented accommodation instead of buying, and this has created an increased demand.
In previous articles on the property market, I was talking about the lack of properties to buy – yet that issue is also there in the British rental property market. Now let’s look at the supply of rental properties.
Would it surprise you that the number of private rented homes in the UK has fallen in the last 12 months by just over 2.5%?
Why? One reason has been many ‘accidental’ landlords have used this housing market to sell their property for a good price. That means the supply of available rental properties has decreased. The perfect storm of increased demand and lower supply, and with many tenants competing for those larger homes, they may find rental prices pick up even more over the next year.
What about buy-to-let mortgages for landlords?
The banks all but withdrew from buy-to-let lending in the first lockdown. Yet, since last summer, things have settled down and during 2021 there has been a mortgage price war.
Landlords can borrow 60% of the value of their BTL property on a two-year fixed rate of 1.18% from Platform and even those with a 20% deposit (that’s borrowing 80%) can borrow that money at 2.49% 2-year fixed rate from The Mortgage Works. Those looking to fix for a little longer can get 1.44% from The Mortgage Works and 1.79% at 75% loan to value from Santander.
(It must be noted there are some fees to these mortgages, and you must take advice from a qualified mortgage advisor before deciding which mortgage is best for you).
So, is now the best time to invest in buy-to-let property?
If you are attracted to invest in buy-to-let, it’s vital to do your homework first – particularly if you are new to the game.
When estimating the expected rental returns on investment, capital growth, and yields, many landlords look to what has happened with house prices and rental prices, yet past performance does not always deliver a future guaranteed return.
Smart landlords will speak with agents like myself and others, prudently researching the property market to discover what types of properties are in high demand (and short supply) from tenants.
Whether you are a landlord of ours or not, contact us for no-nonsense advice on the important matters to look out for before investing in buy-to-let.