The number of buy-to-let investors in the UK has hit a record high of 2.5 million in the latest tax year showing the continued popularity of the sector – up 5 per cent in a year, according to research by London estate agent ludlowthompson.
The number of landlords has increased 27 per cent in the past five years, up from 1.97 million in 2011-12. Landlords now own an average of 1.8 buy-to-let properties each – rising for the fifth consecutive year.
ludlowthompson explains that investors and landlords continue to see residential property, especially in London, as a strong investment. Long-term landlords with ludlowthompson have seen average annual total returns of 9.9 per cent per annum since 2000.
ludlowthompson says that the fundamental aspects that make the UK and London market attractive to investors are strong, including demand continues to outstrip supply. The latest Government statistics predict that the population of London alone will increase to approximately 10 million by 2035.
ludlowthompson adds that ensuring a healthy private rental sector is vital to economic growth by allowing individuals greater labour mobility.
Stephen Ludlow, Chairman at ludlowthompson, says: “Rising numbers of landlords shows the enduring appeal of buy-to-let, particularly in London.”
“The long-term picture for the buy-to-let market remains strong. As a ‘London-leaning’ Brexit looks more likely, a final deal will focus on strengthening the appeal of the capital as a go-to destination for overseas professionals, graduates and students alike.
“Our own figures underline the strength of London’s attraction with a significant increase in rental applicant numbers since the start of 2018. In addition, job creation in the capital remains healthy, its social scene is world-class and new, better transport links continue to come online.”
Recent Bank of England data also shows the resilience of the sector, despite the introduction of the 3 per cent Stamp Duty levy, new stress tests, and the tapering of mortgage interest relief. 12.7 per cent of all mortgages in Q4 2017 went to buy-to-let investors, a slight dip from 14.4 per cent in Q4 2016 and 16.3 per cent in 2015.
Ludlow says: “The level of buy-to-let mortgage lending shows the sector’s continued resilience considering that the 2015 level includes investors rushing to beat the new Stamp Duty. Additionally, the difference is likely to be much smaller as the figures do not include investors that have incorporated, refinanced, or made additional purchases using commercial loans.
“Even taking into account the implementation of Government changes to buy-to-let tax relief, there are a number of tax reliefs available to landlords. Investors should also note that, historically, growing earning power and rising wages have tended to lead to rising rental values.”
Previous research from ludlowthompson shows that even when the new buy-to-let tax changes are fully implemented, investors are still set to benefit from GBP16.7 billion in tax relief.