Estate agent haart is urging the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to relax the Government’s buy-to-let tax crackdown after it found that the number of landlords looking to invest in rental property dropped by more than a third in the year to January.
haart’s data shows that, although the amount of landlords registering to buy rental property increased by 2% between December and January, it has plummeted by 37.4% on an annual basis.
In London, the number of landlords looking to invest fell by 41.3% over the year to January.
The estate agent’s branches did, however, report that the amount of sales to national landlords increased by 13.9% in the 12 months to January.
In the general sales market, haart saw a 15.2% annual boost in new property listings, a 2.6% rise in buyer registrations and a 5.5% increase in exchanges year-on-year.
Paul Smith, the Chief Executive of haart, observes: “There is a clear appetite to move amongst buyers and sellers. Just one month from Brexit, buyers are continuing to act in ignorant bliss, ignoring formidable predictions that are still dominating headlines. With increased confidence in activity, we can expect price rises over the coming months.
“But January was very much a tale of two halves. The London market did not pick up in the same way that the rest of the UK did, and the number of new instructions for sale in the capital dropped by 2.6%. The lack of new homes to buy has, in turn, pushed up rental prices by 6% on the year, to a record £1,924, as Londoners scramble for rental accommodation as an alternative to buying a home.”
He believes: “This is a not a fault of Brexit, but rather a consequence of the Government’s misguided efforts to reform the property market with taxation on buy-to-let landlords.
“Until buy-to-let taxation is relaxed, we can expect rents to rise throughout 2019, and tenants will increasingly be faced with difficulty when finding a new home in the capital.”