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Can Help to Buy 2 derail the buy-to-let market?

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  • 14/10/2013
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Can Help to Buy 2 derail the buy-to-let market?
Buy-to-let mortgage lending topped £5bn in Q2.

If these lending volumes are sustained and indicators suggest they might be the market could hit £20bn in 2013, up from £16.4bn last year.

Logic suggests the Help to Buy juggernaut could eventually sap energy from the buy-to-let market if it does turn long-term tenants into first-time buyers. Although the frenzied interest in Help to Buy 2 already reported by RBS this morning may not convert into completions once consumers fully understand the ins and outs of this slightly confused second phase of the scheme launch.

Few are willing to predict what will be the full impact of the scheme, but I’m guessing strict affordability and credit checks should dampen some of the excitement and the fact there’s no investment angle will see off lots of other misguided enquiries.

Lloyds’ boss Antonio Horta-Osario warned over the weekend that Help to Buy will further pressure property shortages which are already keenly felt in London and the South East. This, not tenant shortages could also be a “pinch point” for landlords looking to extend portfolios.

Another factor for landlords to assess this year is the government’s “family-friendly” longer-term tenancy enshrined in a tenants’ charter announced by Eric Pickles at the start of October.

In June, Nationwide’s The Mortgage Works paved the way, loosening buy-to-let terms to allow three-year tenancies on mortgage agreements. More lenders will follow suit as soon as creaky systems and decision-making allow.

News that CHL Mortgages plans to restart buy-to-let lending in the next few months has also cheered many, as it should.

On the whole, the endless good news emerging out of the buy-to-let market is almost boring right now, and nothing wrong with that as one specialist broker said to me.

So, take a look at what’s coming up from today on buy-to-let week, our series of multimedia features, web chats and essential market intelligence offering some context for those opportunities.

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