As a landlord, you could be forgiven for feeling like you’ve been battered down of late. The New Year has kicked off with stricter lending criteria and the phasing out of tax relief on finance costs begins in April – so does it still pay to be a landlord in 2017?
As if January blues aren’t enough to deal with, landlords also have 145 pieces of legislation to comply with, take into account the uncertainty over the ban on letting agent fees for tenants, and calculate how tax changes will affect their finances.
But many landlords and property professionals, including Romans estate agent, believe that 2017 really is a good time to be a landlord.
The proportion of landlords looking to expand their portfolios has risen to 45%, up from 41% in May last year, according to Mortgages for Business, suggesting that investors are willing to absorb the increased costs associated with letting property and remain in the market.
Although the lettings landscape has changed dramatically over the last couple of years, the fact remains that there are many positives to being a landlord in 2017. Property is still by far the most lucrative investment option when compared to other commodities, such as stocks and shares and gold – you just have to look at the capital appreciation of property across the South East in recent years.
Yields remain strong as rents continue to rise – up by 3.9% across England in 2016, pushing the average rent price to £892 per month in December. In fact, average rents increased in 11 out of 12 UK regions last month. Rightmove expects this trend to continue in 2017, with a further 4% rise forecast for areas outside of London.
Tenants are also now in a much better financial position than this time last year. Fewer are struggling with rental payments, which is great news for all in the sector.
Romans acknowledges that some landlords with large mortgages will struggle with the tighter lending rules, as lenders must take into account an investor’s costs and expenses as well as rental income when assessing their buy-to-let application.
And, worryingly, 60% of landlords say they will be affected by the tax changes being introduced from April, which will limit the amount of tax relief that landlords can claim on finance costs.
So how should you progress if you wish to stay in the buy-to-let sector in 2017? Get good advice from expert industry professionals you can trust, says Michael Cook, the Lettings Managing Director at Romans.
He explains: “Landlords need to understand how all these changes affect them, and seek advice to make the right decisions for their individual circumstances. This includes mortgage and tax advice from professionals, and investment advice from local property experts.
“We know that more people will be renting in years to come, and this is why so many landlords are saying they plan to expand their portfolios. They see the bigger picture – the long-term success of property investment.”
He concludes: “All the projections for rental growth and capital appreciation over the next five to ten years make property a very attractive asset class.”
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