But-to-let landlords have shown remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of the onslaught on their livelihoods, following justifiable concerns about tax legislation and regulation changes.
Despite a raft of ‘anti-landlord’ policies, including the introduction of the 3% stamp duty surcharge, the scrapping of the 10% ‘wear and tear’ tax allowance, and the fact that mortgage tax relief is currently being phased out, new buy-to-let investors have not been deterred from investing in the market, as illustrated by new data from specialist buy-to-let lender Accord Mortgage, which shows that 7% of its business in 2017 came from first time landlords.
The lender started accepting applications from new property investors in July last year and saw a peak in applications in November equating to 11% of the total number of mortgage applications it received that month.
More than half - 57% - of Accord Mortgages’ buy-to-let applications received in 2017 were from those affected by new regulation.
Chris Maggs, commercial manager at Accord Buy To Let, commented: “We have seen a significant demand for buy-to-let mortgages from both experienced and first time landlords this year.
“2017 was a year of remortgaging for landlords who reaped the benefit of some exceptional mortgage rates, and 2018 is likely to be no different.”
The highest number of applications Accord received came from portfolio landlords (32%) with four or more properties, despite the lender only introducing new criteria for these landlords in September.
Some 18% of the applications Accord received since April 2017 were from landlords classed as consumers - single property landlords where they or their relatives have previously lived.
Maggs added: “Last year Accord, like many other lenders, adapted its mortgage offerings to meet the changing needs of the market. Equally, as new regulation was implemented landlords have begun to adapt to ensure their business withstands the changes.
“This doesn’t negate the fact that things are still tough for landlords, and hopefully 2018 will give them some breathing space to take stock of the changes. However, landlords have demonstrated resilience when presented with challenges in the past, and I’m sure that will continue into 2018.”