Buy-to-let tax changes prompt surge in limited company lending

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  • 06/07/2016
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Buy-to-let tax changes prompt surge in limited company lending
Lending via limited companies surged to 30% of all buy-to-let loans during the first half of 2016, as landlords moved properties into tax-friendly wrappers to protect themselves from tax regime change.

This is up from 21% of completions in the second half of 2015 and 18% during the same period a year earlier, findings from Mortgages for Business revealed.

Limited companies also contributed to 30% of the overall value of buy-to-let loans, rising steadily from 25% in the final six months of 2015 and 20% during the first half of 2015.

In March alone, the number of limited company completions more than tripled compared to any other month in the first half of the year, as investors raced to beat the Stamp Duty surcharge deadline for second homes.

However, while the amount of limited company products on the market increased to an average of 154, up from 147 six months earlier, pricing on these deals rose marginally to 4.5% from 4.4% in the previous period.

The cost of limited company products are now 0.8% basis points more than the average price of a buy-to-let mortgage.

David Whittaker, managing director of Mortgages for Business, said the fact that pricing has not come down may encourage more lenders to enter the limited company space.

“Last year I had thought that limited company pricing might come down a bit as some lenders, including our own lending brand Keystone Property Finance, chose to absorb the increased costs and offer the same rates to landlords borrowing both personally and via the limited company route,” he said.

George Osborne’s plans to slash corporation tax to less than 15% could drive the growing trend of limited company lending even further, Whittaker added.

“With the Chancellor announcing his intentions to lower corporation tax to 15% following the Brexit result, we may even witness more landlords financing buy to let property via corporate vehicles,” he said.

“Clearly, the trend for limited company buy to let represents a real step change in behaviour as landlords adapt their investment strategies to mitigate the increased costs brought about by recent changes in the tax regime.”

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