UCB exhances buy-to-let range

Amanda Jarvis

February 24, 2006

The extension includes:

– Increasing the maximum number of buy-to-let properties to ten per borrower
– Increasing the maximum aggregate buy-to-let borrowing to £3 million
– Launch of two buy-to-let flexible mortgage products
– Launch of a fixed rate remortgage product
– Availability of remortgage offer on all three products

The increases in the maximum number of mortgages from two to ten, and in the maximum aggregate loan from £600,000 to £3 million, are being introduced as a response to the increasing maturity of the buy-to-let sector, in which investors who initially entered the market a few years ago are now beginning to increase the size of their property portfolios.

The two products, which are available for both purchase and remortgage, are:

– Buy-to-let two-year flexible tracker at 5.39 per cent
– Buy-to-let five-year flexible tracker at 5.49 per cent

The remortgage product is:
– Buy-to-let flexible two-year fixed at 5.19 per cent

The lender’s current remortgage offer, which provides a free valuation and no reservation fee, is available on all three of the products and is available on up to ten properties.

The initiatives are being launched as part of an overall strategy designed to increase UCB’s presence in the buy-to-let sector. They follow on from the recent introduction of a rental yield borrowing calculation, which is aimed at the more professional landlord who has a portfolio of properties which they manage on a self-funding basis.

Keith Astill, UCB Home Loans managing director, said: “Having been a leading player in the buy-to-let sector when it began to take off at the end of the last decade, we are now in the process of increasing our activity to reflect the way in which the sector is maturing.

“Both our own research and that of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has shown that there have been gradual changes in the buy-to-let market over the past five years, with increasing numbers of landlords now expanding their portfolios after making their initial purchase. These initiatives are partly designed to address this issue.”

Latest research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), in its review of residential investment for the final quarter of 2005, shows that 91 per cent of buy-to-let investors own ten or fewer properties. The average portfolio size is now 5.1 properties.

Similar research published a year ago by the CML showed that nearly a quarter of 1,340 survey respondents owned between three and five properties, with the median number being four.

Keith Astill, added: “Flexible mortgages are key in the buy-to-let market, enabling landlords to overpay and reduce their balance when income is healthy, or to underpay during tenant changes when no rent is being received. We aim to offer a wide choice in the types of flexible mortgage available to property investors, which is why we are expanding the product range.

“We are in the process of taking a much more active role in the buy-to-let sector, with a wider range of mortgages now available to prospective property investors. Landlords owning between one and ten properties form our key segment of the buy-to-let market and our portfolio of products is designed specifically to suit them.”

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