Buy to let investors leave UK property market

Landlords are selling off their portfolios as a result of greater government legislation

Buy to let (BTL) landlords are leaving the property market due to Brexit fears and the burden of greater government legislation.

A survey of estate agents found that BTL landlords continued to feel the pinch, and the number of those selling their flats and houses remained high, at an average of four for each branch in each month in 2019. In April 2019, the figure spiked to five per branch.

NAEA Propertymark, the UK’s leading professional body for estate agency personnel representing members who practice from over 12,000 offices, said that the significant amount of legislation that landlords face had led many to sell off their portfolios.

Propertymark analysed its sales and lettings data to reveal trends and has found that housing supply has also dropped over the past decade.

While the number of properties available to buy remained steady year-on-year, with 39 available per branch throughout 2018 and 38 in 2019, it is significantly lower than in 2009.

The month of August 2019 saw the highest number of properties this year, with an average of 44 available to buy. Supply has dropped considerably over the last decade, from 65 on average per branch in 2009.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said house buyers and sellers had been faced with a lot of uncertainty, which in turn affected sentiment and decision-making.

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“Due to the significant amount of legislation that landlords face, this year they have continued to exit the market, which coupled with Brexit uncertainty and the looming general election, has left the sector in a state of despair,” he said. “Unfortunately, next year could go the same way, unless something is done to make the sector a more attractive investment.”

NAEA Propertymark’s overview of the housing market found that over the course of 2019, demand was slightly higher than last year with an average of 320 house buyers registered per branch, compared to 318 on average throughout 2018. Looking back over the last decade, demand is up by 16 per cent, from 275 per branch in 2009.

The proportion of total sales made to first-time buyers increased by two percentage points in 2019, from 25 per cent in 2018 to 27 per cent.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, said buyers and sellers were holding off on purchases until the outcome of the General Election and Brexit was clear.

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