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Brokers split on buy-to-let outlook

Mortgage intermediaries are split on the prospects for further growth in the buy-to-let market this year.

Brokers are positive about the health of the market but are increasingly concerned about the outlook for 2016, according to new research by NatWest Intermediary Solutions.

In a survey of 441 intermediaries, two thirds said they had seen an increase in demand for buy-to-let mortgages from customers over the last six months, while just 7% reported a decline.

They are far more gloomy about the outlook, with more than four out of 10 expecting to see a fall in buy-to-let business.

Although 32% were still bullish and expected to see growth this year and around one in four expect the market to remain stable.

More than a third said the best prospect for growth this year came from remortgaging.

Graham Felstead, head of NatWest Intermediary Solutions, said the buy-to-let market should remain attractive to brokers.

“However, it does appear that some of the uncertainty surrounding the interpretation of the new Mortgage Credit Directive, the new tax regime for landlords and the Government’s focus on boosting home ownership has muted the optimism for further growth amongst a sizeable number of brokers.

“We may well witness a ‘wait and see’ approach by many until the new factors bed in.”

Felstead said brokers are looking to lenders for clear, consistent and uncomplicated criteria, affordability calculations and underwriting, good BDM support and the availability of interest only. 

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