One of the UK’s largest and most controversial private landlords has seen his attempts to sell his entire portfolio of around 900 residential properties to a pool of foreign investors, including both wealthy individuals and institutions, hit a snag as a consequence of greater uncertainty in the housing market following last week’s EU vote.
With various purchasers now stalling and pulling out of deals en-mass over market fears, the Telegraph report that landlord, Fergus Wilson, is still waiting for a large number of exchanges to complete, meaning some deals could potentially collapse amid the turbulence.
Wilson announced his intention to sell his entire £250m portfolio, centred in and around Kent, at the end of last year, saying he was sorry to be giving up on his properties but “common sense must prevail”, mainly because he was “getting no younger”.
Wilson, who controversially increased rents across his residential property portfolio by up to 33% last year following the tax relief changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne, believes that buy-to-let landlords will become richer as a result of the UK's vote to the leave the EU, as tighter immigration policies are likely to lead to better quality tenants, he said.
He commented: “I don't think Brexit will have much effect on buy-to-let house prices because they're mainly cheaper properties worth less than £500,000 outside of London, so the prices don't have as far to fall.
“People have got to have somewhere to live and immigration is forcing up rents at the bottom of the market. Vultures like myself have bought all the cheap properties, and we put in them the people who are able to afford the rent.
“At the moment the vast majority of my tenants are Eastern Europeans who work in low skilled work but are cash rich. Poorer English people are totally off my radar - they don't really get a look in as they are mainly in council houses.
"I think the points system being designed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove will help landlords because it will help us get better quality tenants. They won't send the ones that are already here home, and if they only let skilled ones in that means better tenants for us.
"Ten years ago I housed a lot of single mums and battered wives who were a good category of tenant. They were pretty good at paying the money and looking after the houses. But then in about 2005 the eastern Europeans started coming and they made really good tenants. I haven't advertised a property for five years because they always ask - can my friend move in?"
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