A buy-to-let mortgage broker is warning landlords that as many as one in three property investors is struggling to remortgage after failing their lender’s affordability test.
According to research undertaken by buy-to-let specialist Mortgages for Business, carried out on behalf of the Daily Mail, some buy-to-let investors are being forced to accept variable rates as high as 9.5% as a result of failing affordability tests for remortgages. Others are selling up because they can no longer afford their loans.
Gavin Richardson, managing director of Mortgages for Business, comments: “It’s a critical situation for small landlords at the moment. They are worried about Section 21 reform and EPC regulations and tax. On top of that, they’re having to worry about higher mortgage rates.
“They’re right to be worried. We’re seeing landlords coming off rates of 3.5% and being unable to remortgage because, according to the lender’s stress test, their loan is no longer affordable. Unable to secure a new deal and with nowhere else to go their loans are reverting to the lenders standard variable rate, which average about 7.5%. In fact, in the worst case scenario, they are moving to their lender’s standard variable rate at rates as high as 9.5%. Their only other options are to pay a socking-great fee to secure a more reasonable interest rate, which can cost them tens of thousands of pounds. Or they can sell up and go home.”
A landlord charging £1,200 a month rent with a mortgage of £225,000 coming off a fixed rate of 3.99% would now be offered a remortgage of £180,893, based on a rate of 5.49%, falling £44,000 short of the loan amount they need to remortgage. At a rate of 5.99%, the shortfall rises even higher to £59,207; at 6.29% it is £67,114. To be accepted for a remortgage of £225,000, the landlord would have to increase the rent they charge by nearly £300 to £1,495.
Mortgages for Business says some lenders offer landlord borrowers product transfers, a new deal without asking them to pass a new stress test. Others will allow borrowers to remortgage back to them at reduced fees, while a few are actively looking at ways to help.