Is the Buy-to-Let Boom Coming to an End?
By |Published On: 13th July 2015|

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Is the Buy-to-Let Boom Coming to an End?

By |Published On: 13th July 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

George Osborne announced last week that higher rate tax relief on buy-to-let mortgage interest repayments will be abolished. This could cost some amateur landlords thousands of pounds per year.

This could stop potential investors buying a rental property and even force existing landlords to sell their property and seek other investment options.

So is this the end of the buy-to-let boom?

Since the first buy-to-let mortgage was introduced in 1996, property investment has beaten almost every other investment, as investors have benefitted from not only rental income, but also capital growth from increasing property prices.

They also received income tax relief of up to 45% on their mortgage interest payments, which is unavailable to residential homeowners.

Some have said that this gives investors an unfair advantage over first time buyers, which has pushed them off the property ladder.

In the first quarter (Q1) of this year, buy-to-let lending rose by around 20%, while lending to homeowners increased by only 1.6%, says Equifax Touchstone.

Research Analyst at DTZ, David Ramsden, comments: “There has been a growing trend of first time buyers being gazumped by buy-to-let landlords in much stronger financial positions.”1 

Osborne’s plan to cut the maximum buy-to-let tax relief to 20% from 2017 onwards is aimed at being fair to both landlords and first time buyers. It could also raise £665m for the Treasury in the 2020-21 tax year.

Founder of online estate agent eMoov, Russell Quirk, says that it is a bad decision for landlords: “Based on average rent, they could be up to £2,000 worse off each year.”1

Is the Buy-to-Let Boom Coming to an End?

Is the Buy-to-Let Boom Coming to an End?

Osborne has also abolished the automatic right for landlords to claim 10% of rent received on furnished properties against wear and tear costs. From April 2016, they will only be able to deduct costs that they actually incur and must supply receipts.

Older investors who bought a small number of properties to support their pension will consider this particularly unfair.

Partner at chartered accountants Blick Rothenberg, Genevieve Moore, says that the announcements in the Budget will affect ordinary workers who have saved and invested in property to boost their income.

She believes that many will leave the buy-to-let sector: “We could see a flood of buy-to-lets being sold as the squeezed middle bows out of the rental market.”1

Head of Lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), Brian Murphy, thinks that buy-to-let investors are being unfairly blamed for the housing crisis: “This can be remedied only be a large programme of house building.”1

Recently, the Bank of England (BoE) released its Financial Stability Report, which warned that buy-to-let is a threat as borrowers invest too much and could be forced to sell if the economy takes a downturn, which would worsen house price declines.

Others believe that buy-to-let and the property market generally will survive.

UK Head of Real Estate at EY accountants, Russell Gardner, says that reducing tax relief will only affect landlords who are in the higher rate income tax bracket: “This may marginally dampen down buy-to-let as an investment proposition for the middle classes over time, but we doubt people will sell.

“Despite the changes, buy-to-let still remains quite an attractive part of a broader investment portfolio.”1

Chief Executive at The Share Centre, Richard Stone, claims that mortgage interest tax relief has twisted investor priorities: “Many will now take a second look at other investments, such as stocks and shares.”1 

However, recent market instability will affect the appeal of equities. Chief Executive of LMS, Andy Knee, says that first time buyers have been driven out of the property market by competition from tax-subsidised landlords and should therefore welcome the changes.

He states: “They may now find securing their chosen property a little easier as a consequence.”1

Other critics believe it could be bad news for Britain’s 8.5m private tenants.

Chief Executive of, David Grundy, cautions that landlords could increase their rents in an attempt to recover their losses, especially those of furnished properties, while a reduction in supply would have the same effect.

He says: “Increased rents will be a major set back for tenants who are trying to save for a deposit in order to get onto the property ladder.”1

However, landlords may find the changes less damaging than initially thought.

Spokesperson for specialist lender Kensington, Alex Hammond, thinks: “Landlords should not be investing simply for the tax relief. Buy-to-let has been a massive success and should remain so.”1

The tax relief changes will be phased in gradually until they are at the basic rate in 2020-21; landlords have many years to adapt.

Furthermore, there may be a way around the changes, as they only apply to individual investors, not companies.

Head of Property Specialists Assetz For Investors, Stuart Law, says landlords can invest through a limited company instead.

In doing so, they will benefit from forthcoming cuts in corporation tax, also announced in the Budget.

Law states: “Bricks and mortar will still be seen as one of the safest and most profitable investments for years to come.”1






About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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