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Most recent landlord sales have been from retirees, figures show

Landlords who bought soon after the launch of the first buy-to-let mortgage in 1996 are retiring in increasing numbers.  

Research from lettings agency Hamptons shows that with the average landlord turning 60, it’s predominantly these older investors who are leaving the market.  

Hamptons’ estimates suggest that around 140,000 landlords retired in 2022 accounting for nearly three-quarters of all landlord sales.


This figure is likely to continue rising over the coming years with around 96,000 landlords turning 65 each coming year across Great Britain.  

This in addition to the almost one million landlords who are already over the age of 65.  

Over the last 12 years between 2010 and 2022 the agency estimates the number of landlords retiring annually has doubled as their demographic sector ages.

The purchases made by these landlords 15 to 25 years ago following the introduction of the buy-to-let mortgage still make up the majority of privately rented homes in Great Britain.  

Some 51 per cent of today’s total number of outstanding buy-to-let mortgages were taken out between 1996 and 2007.  And it’s this cohort of ageing investors who bought when the sector was growing rapidly that are now increasingly likely to sell up and cash out., Hamptons claims.

They leave behind a gap which is not being filled by new landlords entering the sector.

Some 45 per cent of homes sold by landlords so far this year were bought at least 15 years ago, a figure which has risen in each year since 2018 when it stood at just 33 per cent.

This proportion is likely to continue rising as more landlords reach retirement having bought their buy-to-let a couple of decades ago.

Many of the first buy-to-let mortgages were used to purchase new low-rise city centre flats and it’s these flats which form the largest proportion of sales by today’s long-term landlords. 

Suburban London tops the list with 60 per cent of landlord sales in Redbridge having been owned for 15-plus years, followed by 59 per cent in Ealing, 58 per cent in Harrow, 55 per cent in Barnet and 53 per cent in Enfield.

While age tends to be the primary trigger for selling up, in many cases the decision to sell has been compounded by lower-than-average returns, which in turn have been exacerbated by higher interest rates.  

An investor who bought 20 years ago was achieving a gross yield of 4.3 per cent relative to their sale price, compared to a landlord buying today who is achieving 6.1 per cent. 

Hamptons says that this implies that in many cases, these landlords are selling homes where long-term tenants were paying rents which have slipped below market rates.

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    The term ‘ Cash 💰 Out ‘ is a good one, I am in the group, if the government had not done what they have… with more to come ! Then maybe I would have stayed, but they didn’t 👎🏻 So we have to look where we are, not where we feel we should be. The years between now and my possible end of life ☠️ Are not so many, I intend to enjoy my hard work.


    Same here!!

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    Good move Simon and Tricia!

    It is a pity that they don't reduce capital gains tax on property when Landlords reach retirement age. Some feel that they have to remain landlords until they die in order to avoid the double burden of capital gains tax and inheritance tax.


    I reached retirement age and sold my main business 8 years ago but I now have much more time and still enough energy to manage the portfolio which my grown up children and my wife and I have built up.

    Maintaining or even increasing btl debt is one way to minimise eventual iht and avoid cgt altogether. This makes financial sense whilst rental yields are around 8% and btl interest rates are much less, even now.

    Even in Scotland I have no intention of pulling out from the prs although families who want a long term home are no longer my preferred tenants.


    That sounds a good strategy Robert - thanks for sharing it.

    However, some older landlords are not in good health, and that is an element of the situation one has to consider.



    When I can't manage the properties myself I will go to full management which I can get for around 10% including VAT, paid for by the corresponding rent increases.

    I suppose it will then become unearned income but I can live with being accused of joining the idle rich after approaching 60 years of hard labour!

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    I too am of retirement age and my wife keeps telling me that the end is nigh for the PRS.
    I am beginning to think that she is right, but it has taken me a long time to realise this.
    I have to carry out alterations to nearly all of my properties to comply with the Welsh Assembly Government's new legislation and it has also given tenants the upper hand when it comes to their rights.

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    Its a shame that a few residential landlords are giving up on the businesses that could give them income for life. I have a rental unit in Stevenage that had an EPC of Grade E. My tenant had moved out to FTB a brand new flat. I took the opportunity to get my plasterer to install Recticel Instafit slimline insulation panels on all of the internal walls (those on the external elevations) because I couldn't get the other long leaseholders to jointly pay of cavity wall insulation, I took out the old gas combi boiler, that had been giving me problems, and got my electrician to install just two Dimplex Quantum night-storage heaters and an Economy 7 hot water tank. I've had the flat's EPC re-assessed and its now an EPC Grade C. With the proposed MEES legislation soon hitting us this unit is now fit-for-purpose for many years to come. I started the process by getting a draft predicted EPC from my long-time energy assessor who guaranteed the final EPC Grade C outcome. I'm close to signing a long-term lease with a supported living provider who will putting a disabled tenant into this flat.
    I can't understand why landlords are giving up when the solutions are pretty straight-forward.

    George Dawes



    A pearl of wisdom indeed 🤥 I feel my life, and indeed my soul, is deeply enriched 🤐


    Your knighthood and sainthood are in the post!


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