There were 4,420 buy-to-let mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance in the first quarter of 2020, 6% fewer than in the same quarter of 2019, according to the latest mortgage arrears and possessions figures from UK Finance.
Within that total, there were 1,170 buy-to-let mortgages with more significant arrears (representing 10% or more of the outstanding balance). This was 3% down on the corresponding quarter last year.
Despite the annual fall, the data shows that buy-to-let arrears increased marginally in Q1 2020 from 4,390 in the previous quarter.
Callum Bilbe, analyst, data & research at UK Finance, said: “While we did see a modest increase in arrears from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020, this rise relates to the very earliest effects of the Covid-19 outbreak at the start of March, with the payment holiday scheme being introduced shortly after this, helping to prevent further payment issues for borrowers who might be struggling.”
The first quarter of 2020 saw 640 buy-to-let mortgaged properties taken into possession, which is an 8% increase on the same quarter last year.
Jackie Bennett, UK Finance senior advisor, mortgages, said: “While the number of mortgages in arrears are down 6% year-on-year for both homeowners and landlords, and the number of possessions down 23% for homeowners, lenders know that coronavirus is currently causing financial difficulty for many customers.
“That’s why the banking and finance industry is working hard to support people during this difficult time, including providing more than 1.6 million mortgage payment holidays and introducing a three-month moratorium on any possessions.”