Buy-to-let - UK - March 2009
The buy-to-let mortgage market is a little over a decade old. In that time it has galvanised the UK rental market, fostering significant increases in the availability and quality of rented accommodation. What was once a market in the hands of companies, institutions and specialist investors has increasingly shifted to one controlled by individual landlords. The buy-to-let sector has ridden the wave of the UK housing market. The UK’s love affair with owning bricks and the easy (too easy) availability of finance have made the returns from property investment attractive to individual investors.
But 2007 was a significant watershed for the buy-to-let market and the UK housing market generally. Since Q3 2007, the finance tap has been turned off from the housing market, leading to sharp falls in house prices. Fortunately, experienced landlords take a long-term view of the return on their investments, so despite declining capital gains, many are sticking with the market judging that growth will return in 2009 or 2010. However, there remains uncertainty as to when recovery will set in and the rapid increase in the supply of rental properties is now forcing rent levels down across the UK.
- In 2008, there was an explosion in the number of landlords in the UK, largely resulting from a rapid rise in reluctant landlords. What will this mean for the BTL market and can it be sustained?
- Given the current credit crunch, are individuals and landlords in particular still looking for opportunities in the market? More importantly, can landlords ride out the current storm?
- The wholesale funding market has dried up, so how have the major players in the market coped and what impact has the crunch and nationalisation of major financial institutions had on the BTL market?
- In 2008, innovation and new product development has been a low priority. Does this mean future innovation could be limited?
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