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Dwindling numbers of buy-to-let property purchases

There has been a significant drop in the proportion of annual sales to buy-to-let landlords as measured by Hamptons International. 

The estate agent, which has been collating data on landlord purchases, including cash buyers as well as those buying with a mortgage, since 2010, reports that the proportion of homes acquired by landlords has fallen to an all-time low as a combination of COVID-19 and tax changes deter people from investing the buy-to-let market.

After Boris Johnson's decisive general election victory in December, buy-to-let investors bought almost one in five - 18% - of the residential properties sold in Britain, which is the highest level since February 2016 when they were rushing to purchase homes before the 3% stamp duty surcharge on additional properties was introduced.


But since then the share of properties purchased by landlords has dropped sharply, hitting a record low of 8% last month.

In London, just 4% of all residential sales last month were to landlords, down from 14% in March 2019.


The figures also reveal that landlord sales have dropped from 15% in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 8% in the first quarter of this year. 

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “We started to see landlords pull away from the market in February — maybe they got a surprise when they filed their tax returns in January. This is now being combined with uncertainty from the coronavirus and fears over how this might affect them as self-employed or small businesses. 

“People expect property prices to fall, and rents to fall or level off; also there are not many properties on the market in March— and perhaps fewer suitable for landlords than others.”

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  • icon

    Maybe a few forced sales in the auction rooms, back to 1990 when the bargains were out there with very few buyers

  •  G romit

    Surprise, surprise! Never saw that coming.

    Who'd of thought that a Government onslaught of punitive taxes and over-regulation, incessant vilification & demonisation by housing charities, would deter Landlords from buying, and even result in 4,000 per month exiting the PRS? (MP's excepted).

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    • 09 April 2020 21:46 PM

    The problem remains that there are still too many rental properties available.
    There needs to be a lot fewer so that hopefully we will see mass homelessness.

    Only then will Govt appreciate the true folly of their behaviour towards the PRS.
    Unfortunately the collapse of short-term letting has required many LL to return to less profitable AST lettings.

    Until these have been taken up for long-term lettings there won't be any shortage.
    Of course if there is a rebound in the short-term lettings market then those properties will be removed from the long term lettings market.
    There will have to be a lot more LL selling up completely or reducing their portfolio size before we will see increasing homelessness.

    Perhaps in light of this CV19 issue many LL will indeed retrench their business to fewer less leveraged properties.

    This will indeed make such LL far more financially resilient.
    Which perhaps is no bad thing.
    LL need to consider their own financial circumstances and sod the tenants.

    LL have a responsibility for themselves ahead of any tenants.
    If this results in fewer rental properties then so be it!

    It won't have been the LL fault that they had to take resilience actions.
    If the LL DOESN'T ensure financial resilience then even those few remaining tenants a LL has will be vulnerable to the next crisis.
    Of course so will the LL.
    The new LL mantra must be financial resilience.
    Business models will need to be adjusted to facilitate this.


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