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‘Don’t expect government to support you or your landlord clients’ – Young

by: Bob Young, chief executive officer of Fleet Mortgages
  • 01/06/2018
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‘Don’t expect government to support you or your landlord clients’ – Young
The National Landlords Association (NLA) believes 19% of all its members will sell some of their property soon, which it says equates to 380,000 landlords selling UK-wide.


If only half of those sell just one property, then that’s potentially a lot of stock exiting the rental space, although of course it could be sold to other landlords, as there is no guarantee that it’s all going to owner-occupiers.

But, given the government wanted this property exchange to take place, you might well assume the transfer between rental and ownership will be pretty high.

What this means for a market which still requires large levels of property and where there is significant demand is anyone’s guess, but it can’t really be a painted as a positive.

The housing gap is likely to get bigger.


Government address

Action of course has been repeatedly called for, but u-turns (at least in this area) don’t seem to be on the agenda.

One petition which urges a u-turn on both the mortgage interest relief tax changes and the extra 3% stamp duty surcharge is past the number of signatures required to get an official government response.

Admittedly, it’s someway short of the 100,000 required to get a Parliamentary debate but by breaching the 10,000 barrier it will require the government to at least address these issues, and perhaps give us an inkling of what might happen next.

I suspect the answer will be ‘no change’ and none on the horizon, but if transactions continue to fall then there could be some reappraisal.

Don’t hold your breath though, especially when the stamp duty tax take continues to be fulsome to say the least.


Focus minds

Continued falls in transaction levels will however change all of that, and I suspect focus the minds of Philip Hammond and his Treasury team.

Whether this induces even the most minor of tweaks to those policies remains to be seen – helping landlords in any way has never really been flavour of the month, and even less so now.

What we can say positively however is that the professionalisation of buy-to-let continues apace; professional and portfolio landlords are buying property again and want to do more in the future. Lenders have a strong appetite to lend and product choice is rising, particularly in the limited company space.

If, as an adviser, you were looking for opportunities in this market, it is here where they lie and where they will grow.

Don’t expect the government to support you, or your clients, but there are still active landlords and this part of the market is moving in the right direction with strong demand.

Understanding, and presenting the right advice and solutions, will help you make the most of it.

The consequences don’t have to be all negative, but it’s going to require a significant and continuous commitment on all our parts to make it happen.


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