Three times as many buy-to-let investors remortgaged over the past year for refurbishments, compared to 2016, according to the estate agent and mortgage broker.
New energy efficiency standards this month came in for landlords, with rental homes now required to have an EPC rating of E or higher on new tenancies.
It’s thought that small numbers of investors could have used cash to make necessary changes.
But most are likely choosing to upgrade properties, as opposed to expanding portfolios, according to Countrywide.
Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “A record number of landlords are re-mortgaging to release money to spend on their properties instead of trading up.
“The additional transaction costs incurred from the stamp duty changes for second-homeowners means more landlords are choosing to invest in their properties, refurbishing and improving them and holding on to them for longer to maximise gains.”
Rental growth steady
The largest number of renovating landlords is in the East of England, with one in 10 remortgaging for home improvements.
And investors in London took out the most money at an £35,470 on average.
It comes as the average cost of a new let reached £951 across the UK, up 1.7% from the same period last year.
The Midlands saw the fastest annual rental growth of 2.8%, followed by Wales at 2.1% and Greater London at 2.1%, while rents in Scotland fell for the second month in a row.
Morris added: “Average rents grew in seven out of eight regions across Great Britain, with Scotland being the only region to see falls.
“Rental growth during the first quarter of this year stands at 2.1%, 0.5% faster than the same period in 2017, as low stock levels continue to drive growth.”