UK Finance: Buy-to-let purchase activity well below expectations

Ryan Bembridge

November 6, 2018

Buy-to-let purchase lending will likely reach just £9bn this year – £3bn short of UK Finance’s £12bn forecast at the start of the year.

Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, told delegates of the stark news at the trade body’s annual mortgage conference this morning.

She said: “Buy-to-let has not fared so well this year.

“Our forecast for 2018 was for around £12bn of buy-to-let purchase – the market looks like it will considerably undershoot this, coming in at more around £9bn.

“This is undoubtedly the impact of various tax, regulatory and legislative changes that have happened to landlords in the buy-to-let sector.

“And with the 2018 tax bills dropping through landlords’ letterboxes, or more likely in their inboxes these days, we are yet to see what further impact this may have on the market.”

She wasn’t all doom and gloom however.

Buy-to-let remortgaging has gone the other way, with lending likely to reach £27bn, up from the £24bn forecast at the start of the year.

Bennett also brought up the subject of product transfers in buy-to-let, as this data isn’t currently available, unlike with residential.

She said “it wouldn’t surprise me” if buy-to-let product transfers are “as strong as the residential market”.

Later in the day Yolande Barnes, professor of real estate, Bartlett Real Estate Institute, UCL, did little to quell fears about buy-to-let.

Indeed she said the market will likely be moderately down again on current levels come 2023.

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