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Quote Ref: WS1

Landlord exodus

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The third quarter of 2018 saw a continuing, marked exodus of landlords from the buy to let market, reported Property Industry Eye on the 18th of December.

Citing figures produced by lettings agents Belvoir, the article pointed to an increase of four percentage points, compared to the previous quarter, in the number of landlords selling up to three of their buy to let properties and a further increase of the same proportions in those selling between 4-5 properties.

Landlords holding bigger portfolios, however, seem to be more resistant to such pressures, with a five percentage point decrease in those selling between 6-10 of their properties.

Various reasons are advanced for this exodus of landlords, including:

  • a steadily growing regime of legislation and regulation;
  • tax changes;
  • lower rental yields and returns on investment;
  • landlords wanting to re-occupy and move back into their let properties; and 
  • a general uncertainty about the eventual impact of Brexit on the private rental sector market.

Belvoir suggested on the 28th of August that the government hoped sales by landlords might free up housing for first-time buyers – in which case, any such plan may seem to have backfired. In the third quarter of the year, only 19% of its branches said that properties had been sold to first-time buyers, 33% were sold to other buy to let investors, and 23% went to general sales.

In terms of rental yields, these have been hit by a fall in rent levels of 1.25%, compared with the same period last year – although rent increases are predicted during the course of 2019.