Speaking to the Financial Times over the weekend, Fergus Wilson confirmed the sale of the properties and said the market dynamics had changed significantly since he had first become a landlord.
Wilson said larger deposits and tougher lending criteria had made things more difficult for landlords and commented: “Is it the wrong time to be an amateur landlord? Yes. Some people will succeed, but on the whole, too many amateurs walk into pitfalls… The day of the amateur landlord is over.”
Practitioners agreed the market had changed since Wilson began buying properties over 25 years ago. “It would be fair to say that it is a more difficult environment for so-called amateur landlords”, said Bob Young, chief executive officer at Fleet Mortgages. “However that’s not to say that firstly, property is not a strong investment, or that secondly, amateurs can’t make a success of it.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say their days are over, but clearly government and regulatory change has had an impact in terms of securing finance and making it a profitable venture. However, if you get your research right, ensure you get the right property in the right area with the right tenants, and you can acknowledge it’s a long-term investment, then there is no reason why property investment cannot work for you.”
Recent research from Simple Landlords Insurance showed that 17% of the market was still made up of ‘accidental landlords’ who had fallen into it through circumstance. It also found that 65% sought to improve their margin and maintain profits by managing properties for themselves instead of passing them over to a letting agency.