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Brokers report 50% annual rise in buy-to-let sales

Buy-to-let sales through intermediaries have soared over the last year as the sector continues to boom.

Sales in August 2015 were up by 54.1% compared to the same month last year, hitting £3.31 billion, according to new analysis of the intermediary marketplace by Equifax Touchstone.

Year-to-date buy-to-let sales to August 2015 rose more than 30% compared with the same period in 2014, to £25.62 billion.

Equifax said buy-to-let investors have been attracted by the continued economic recovery, low interest rate environment and enticing deals from lenders.

An increase in private rental rates of more than 10% since the start of the year has further contributed to this growth, it said.

Despite this, August buy-to-let sales dropped by 12.5% from the £3.77 billion reported in the previous month, reflecting the holiday slowdown.

Yet even this was considerably less than the drop in sales of 20.8% in the same period last year, suggesting a much stronger buy-to-let market this year.

The data from Equifax Touchstone, which covers 92% of the intermediated lending market, shows that residential sales for January to August were up 14.8% compared to 2014.

Including buy-to-let, total sales for the eight-month period are up by 18% year-on-year.

The average value of a residential mortgage in August was £183,337, up from £170,371 last year, and £158,782 for buy-to-let, up from £143,546.

Iain Hill, relationship manager, Equifax Touchstone, said: “We have seen promising signs of growth in the buy-to-let lending market in the past year as demand continues to rise and this has been further consolidated by last month’s figures.

“We expect this upward trend to continue in the coming months.

“Despite a fall in sales in August, which was slightly more than expected given the robust nature of the market so far this year, it’s promising to see sustained year-on-year growth.

“The current favourable market conditions, supported by low interest rates and the greater capacity for lenders to offer mortgages, have encouraged borrowers to enter the market.”

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