While many will agree that 2016 was not the best year for buy-to-let, as the government introduced a raft of anti-landlord policies, 2017 seems to be getting off to a promising start - at least in terms of demand from landlords looking to add to their property portfolios.
The latest mortgage lending figures show that there has been a surge in demand from landlords looking to make fresh property investments, with 21,000 buy-to-let loans issued in November, up 13% compared to the previous month, and this growing trend looks set to continue, according to Fleet Mortgages.
“Overall, the market has kicked off strongly at the start of 2017, and we’ve seen a considerable amount of demand and interest from advisers [on behalf of buy-to-let investors],” said Bob Young, chief executive of Fleet Mortgages.
Young continued: “We’ve seen over the course of the last 12 months the increase in demand for limited company products, particularly when it comes to new purchases, however many landlord borrowers continue to hold their existing properties in their individual names and it’s therefore important that we continue to offer competitive products in this space.”
To help meet growing demand from buy-to-let landlords, Fleet Mortgages has launched five products across its individual and limited company buy-to-let ranges.
Through limited companies the lender has launched an 80% loan-to-value (LTV) 2-year fix at 4.39% and two lifetime trackers at 4.2% to 75% LTV and 4% to 65% LTV. Products come with a 1.5% fee.
Its individual products include a 2-year fix at 3.79% to 80% LTV and a 4% 75% LTV tracker, both with a 1% fee.
Despite a pick-up in demand for buy-to-let properties, Young reports that there is growing frustration at the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee’s decision to introduce new tougher mortgage affordability tests.
“One thing we are aware of however is the increased frustration around many lenders’ rent to income calculations, their ever-changing criteria, plus major difficulties when it comes to finding products on sourcing systems and being able to compare like-for-like,” he added.
All Fleet’s new buy-to-let products come with a rental calculation rate of 125% at 5%.