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Buy-to-let lending set to fall by up to 20%

Buy-to-let lending will fall by as much as 20% over the next two years to reach around £33bn by the end of 2018, a leading mortgage expert has predicted.

Speaking at the Mortgage Business Expo in the Barbican Centre in London late last week, David Whittaker, managing director at Mortgages for Business, estimated that the market would slow considerably because of the various changes occurring in the buy-to-let market, including the Prudential Regulatory Authority’s affordability stress tests.

Whittaker advised intermediaries to aim to conclude deals by Christmas, before more stringent mortgage lending rules potentially deter many buy-to-let landlords from adding to their property portfolios.

Whittaker projects that the market will reach £39bn in 2017 and £33bn in 2018, suggesting that the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association’s (IMLA) forecast that buy-to-let lending will reach £48bn next year is over optimistic, to say the least.

Whittaker said: “Our view is it [buy-to-let lending] is going to peak this year and it’s going to start coming down.

“And in 2018 we think the market will contract by 15-20% as landlords take fright, worry about the advice they are getting, and lenders do not transition comfortably from just doing vanilla buy-to-lets to limited company buy-to-let, because that’s where most landlords want to be and we are still trying to absorb what the regulator has imposed on us from the 1st October next year.”

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