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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlords “resilient” in face of growing threats

The besieged buy-to-let sector has enjoyed a rare piece of good news as a new study says landlords are displaying "considerable financial resilience" despite growing threats to profitability.

The new report, from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), says this will offer some solace to the sector, which faced a challenging end to 2015. 

The IMF recently added its voice to those calling for controls over buy-to-let lending, following concerns expressed by Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

HM Treasury also published a consultation on handing the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) new powers over the sector buy-to-let market.

The CML said the “writing has been on the wall for some time” and may partly explain a recent Residential Landlords Association survey showing that 10% of landlords now plan to leave the market over the next five years.

Currently, buy-to-let accounts for nearly a fifth of all UK mortgage lending, making it an increasingly important part of the market.

CML figures show that the typical stressed mortgage rate in the sector has increased by 50 basis points to between 5.6% and 5.7% over the past year.

But it said fears that landlords could destabilise the housing market by selling up if their investments turn sour appear "a little contrived".

It points to the latest buy-to-let survey of nearly 1,000 landlords by YouGov that highlights the resilience of investors to interest rates increases.

Three-quarters foresee no problems in servicing their mortgage payments if rates rose by 1.5%.

However, the CML admitted forthcoming tax changes would damage future growth prospects and hit landlord cash flows.

Recent report suggests that many landlords could sell up once the tax changes start to bite and few doubt tough times lie ahead for the sector.

  • Commercial Trust

    From www.com.org.uk:

    "As it happens, the scenario it [the Bank of England] chose to focus on [in its December Financial Stability report] – the likelihood of landlords’ selling their rental properties in the event of their investments turning sour – appears a little contrived."

    Indeed, these latest results show that a 1.5bp increase – which, according to current forward guidance, would be implemented quite manageably in 0.25bp increments over a year and a half – would be unlikely to force landlords to sell up.

    As you observe, however, there is also the impact of the chancellor's tax changes to account for. 500,000 disposals over a five year period (as you predict in this article) equates to just over 8,300 disposals per month.

    This is nearly a tenth of average monthly property transactions at present.

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