Advisers expect the level of buy-to-let business to stabilise over the next twelve months, an improvement on the gloomy outlook consistently registered since the 2015 Summer Budget, according to Paragon’s Financial Adviser Confidence Tracker.
The proportion of landlords raising finance for portfolio expansion has also increased for the first time since 2015 – up from 22% to 23%.
And there has also been a small increase in applications from first-time landlords.
Brokers confidence in the buy-to-let sector was hit after former chancellor George Osborne announced plans to phase out tax relief for landlord mortgages, the research showed.
The changes coincided with an additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on rental properties and new Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) rules on buy-to-let affordability and underwriting.
Landlords staying put
Buy-to-let mortgage purchase transactions have subsequently fallen significantly since 2015, but remortgaging has increased, suggesting few landlords are exiting the sector.
Brokers interviewed by Paragon reported almost half of landlord mortgage applications were for a straightforward remortgage, with six out of 10 looking to lock in a better interest rate.
John Heron, managing director of mortgages at Paragon (pictured), said: “It’s encouraging to see intermediaries forecast a more stable outlook for buy-to-let business after such a long period of negative sentiment.
“Purchase activity continues at much lower levels but it is interesting to see the step up in remortgage business as landlords look to maximise certainty and minimise costs as the interest rate changes start to take effect.”