Landlords 'set to offload 380,000 properties'

by Gary Whittaker

The next year could see a bonanza for first-time buyers as landlords divest up to 380,000 properties, according to the National Landlords' Association (NLA).

New polling data from the organisation found 19 per cent of landlords plan to offload property, meaning huge numbers of homes could change hands. Moreover, the survey found two significant features of these divestment intentions should ensure it is mainly first-time buyers who benefit.

Firstly, 45 per cent of landlords planning to sell up are seeking to remove flats and apartments from their portfolios, while 33 per cent intend to sell terraced homes. This means the majority of properties coming onto the market as a result of this widespread offloading will be the kind that tend to appeal most to aspiring first-time buyers. 

Secondly, only seven per cent of those polled said they would sell to fellow landlords, meaning most of the properties would go straight onto the open market. 

This may seem like very good news to tenants who want to swap renting for home ownership. However, the situation is more varied and complex than that, ensuring not all renters will benefit, according to NLA chief executive Richard Lambert. 

He explained: "These findings sound like positive news for potential new homeowners, but the reality is not everyone wants, or is in a position financially, to buy.

"In fact, if all these homes are sold as planned then it will lead to a significant fall in the supply of property available to those who choose to rent, or have no other option but to rent."

Mr Lambert added that while it is true that there is some competition for property between landlords and first-time buyers, that is only part of the picture; large deposits and the difficulties some face in accessing mortgage finance are also key issues, he said. 

The NLA published a case study of a landlord in Edinburgh who, after 22 years building up a portfolio, is responding to tax changes by selling six flats to cut his debts. 

He said new taxes on landlords are a "big, big mistake" and could spell the end of the buy-to-let sector within 25 years. 

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16-May-18General Lettings News