With savers receiving poor returns from banks and building societies, thousands of people unsurprisingly continue to turn to residential property as a means of supplementing their income, supported by low mortgage borrowing rates, solid demand from tenants and stable yields, as buy-to-let consolidates itself as the investment of choice.
Despite a challenging few years for the buy-to-let market, characterised by tax and regulatory changes, investment in buy-to-let continues to outperform most major asset classes, as Britain’s rented sector continues to expand, with a sixth of the population – some 10 million people – now living in accommodation rented from private landlords.
A new survey carried out by Perrys Chartered Accountants has found that Londoners are mostly positive about the possibilities of buy-to-let as an investment with four in five - 82% - believing it would be a good investment.
Unsurprisingly, the most likely type of property a Londoner would consider for a rental investment would be a flat or apartment, with 46% of respondents choosing this option, a higher number than any other region with only Scotland coming close.
Brexit and increased tax and stamp duty rates remain barriers deterring for some investors, which partly explains why 42% of those surveyed cited a reduction in stamp duty and other relevant taxes as their biggest desire when it comes to investing in buy-to-let property.
Some 45% of Londoners thought a buy-to-let property could be utilised as a pension, which is fewer than respondents in all other areas of the country other than Northern Ireland, which could be explained again by the higher proportion of younger people concentrated in the London area.
Almost a third - 32% - would like to use buy-to-let income as a replacement for their current income, while just under a quarter - 24% - saw it as an inheritance for their family.
Donna McCreadie, who is a buy-to-let tax specialist at Perrys, commented: “Buy-to-let is still a solid long term investment despite what current market indications and the drop off in purchases might suggest. It’s interesting that the younger generation still sees it as a way to plan financially for the future. However, there are many things to consider before jumping in, including stamp duty charges, how income tax might be affected and what the return on the investment is likely to be.”
“Investing in a property is a long term plan rather than a quick fix to financial freedom so it’s important to gather as much information as possible and speak to a professional tax specialist and mortgage advisor before making a commitment.”