Landlords are now less likely to fall behind on their mortgage repayments, with just 9,300 cases of buy-to-let mortgage arrears of more than three months recorded in the first three months of the year – the lowest quarterly level since Q4 2007 when there were just 7,500 cases across the UK.
The latest figures from Your Move and Reeds Rains represents a drop of 9.7% since Q4, when 10,300 landlord mortgages were in arrears.
“The evidence is clear – landlords’ finances are the healthiest they’ve been for nearly a decade,” said Adrian Gill of Your Move and Reeds Rains.
Gill reports that the falling level of mortgage arrears reflects a drop in the number of accidental landlords in the market and a rise in the volume of deliberate landlords with a professional attitude to their investment.
“The average property investor is more likely to have a business plan and a more professional approach to letting their property,” he added.
Any new risks for landlords are now as a result of what Gill described as “anti-renting policies” which have come about as a consequence of “well-intentioned” but possibly “misguided attempts” to further improve the private rented sector.
He continued: “Landlords witnessing this storm of regulatory change will need to build their cash reserves and reassess their business models. But they are in a very good position to do so.
“Looking ahead, the next hurdle put up by the government will be the coming changes to the tax relief of mortgage interest. For many smaller landlords and for those without significant external income, the phasing out of tax allowances at the higher rate could be minimal if they don’t fall near the higher tax bands in the first place. But professional landlords with more than a couple of properties could be hit harder.
“Regardless of their situation all landlords should know where they stand – with a revised plan and the proper advice to make sure they can continue to operate successfully under the new rules.
“Into the future, if private renting is to continue absorbing the bulk of UK population growth, then landlords will need to be understood better by policy makers – and appreciated better by all the regulatory and political forces behind the latest onslaught. If demand from tenants keeps growing as it has, then landlords will be vital.”