The future of buy to let looks bright as landlords expand their portfolio

Buoyant buy-to-let mortgage market has led to a mini-boom that is set to continue says leading buy to let website: buytoletmortgages.co.uk

Historically low interest rates, sky-high rents and falling house prices are encouraging landlords to expand their buy-to-let portfolio and new investors to enter the market, says leading buy to let website: buytoletmortgages.co.uk.

A slew of attractive mortgage deals are luring many back into this once golden investment opportunity. And while no longer the gold rush it once was, as an income investment for those that can afford to raise a large deposit, buy to let is proving to be an attractive choice, especially compared to miserly savings rates and a volatile stock market.

According to independent research commissioned by a leading mortgage company, during the first three months of 2012 landlords increased their portfolios by an average of 1.8 properties, taking the average portfolio size to 10.8 properties.

And many landlords are still looking to expand their portfolio, with over a third of those surveyed saying they expect to purchase more property over the coming year.

Experts also say that void periods – the time when a property is left empty with no tenants, has also remained low at 2.6 weeks annually.

Leading buy to let website: buytoletmortgages.co.uk is optimistic about the buy-to-let market, confident that the sector will grow further over the next 12 months.

 ‘It’s not surprising that landlords are confident about the future, says Lee Grandin of buytoletmortgages.co.uk. ‘They are feeling the benefits of decent and stable yields of 6.2% – which haven’t altered during the last year.

‘A chronic housing shortage and difficulty for first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder means there are also strong levels of tenant demand.’

And it is not just professional landlords expanding their property portfolio that has sparked a buy to let mini-boom, buytoletmortgages.co.uk is also noting an increase in the number of mortgage applications from first time buy to let borrowers.

Unhappy with the stagnant and falling house prices, buy-to-let is becoming an attractive investment opportunity for those wanting to move but not wanting to sell their homes.

Indeed, buytoletmortgages.co.uk is witnessing an increasing number of forty and fifty something homeowners – a demographic with significant amounts of equity – choosing to let rather than sell their homes.

Lee Grandin of buytoletmortgages.co.uk says: ‘Many people want to move house but don’t want to accept a low price on their properties.

 ‘The large increase in in house prices over the last 15 years has made people consider their home as an asset. Subsequently, many of those who have paid a large chunk off their mortgage are choosing to rent out their home rather than sell it. They are then able to use the equity released as a deposit to buy another property.’

‘Pension funds have had a shaky time, they are complicated and unreliable.  People like property because it is a tangible asset and they can see the price go up and down, adds Grandin.

According to research by buytoletmortgages.co.uk, terrace houses are among the most popular buy to let property investment choice, appealing to students, professionals and families alike.

Once the preferred choice of the first time buyer, with the Stamp Duty extension now at an end, few can now afford terrace houses, providing landlords with an opportunity to snap up these entry-level properties.

But while the recent surge in buy to let investment is likely to cause criticism among those frozen out of the property market, buytoletmortgages.co.uk urges people to remember that housing is desperately needed in the UK at the moment.

Indeed, the chronic lack of social housing means the UK is highly dependent on the private rented sector to provide accommodation to those on housing benefits, for example, as there is simply not enough social housing to go around.

It is a view shared by the Communities and Local Government Committee, a group of MP’s that are urging the government to help the private rental sector by providing landlords with tax breaks and slashing red tape to make it easier for them to expand their portfolios.

‘Buy-to-let still represents an attractive investment opportunity, adds Lee Grandin of buytoletmortgages.co.uk. ‘But landlords looking to expand their portfolio or enter this market for the first time must go in with their eyes wide open and consider all the costs and risks.  Even in periods of big demand, it is key they thoroughly understand the local market.’

buytoletmortgages.co.uk. warns prospective landlords that plummeting house prices can feed off any return from a buy-to-let investment, especially if it is only help for a short period of time, say five to seven years.

Remember while rent can provide an attractive annual income stream, any fall in the value of your investment property can turn it into a loss.