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Buy to let benefits from fall in first-time buyers

Buy to let is booming as house price inflation forces potential first-time buyers into renting rather than buying.

Seventy-one per cent of landlords say the lack of first-time buyers has boosted the buy-to-let market, according to a survey of property investors attending this year&#39s Property Investor Show.

Over half of landlords (53 per cent) believe the buy-to-let market will grow over the next 21 months while 21 per cent think it will remain stable.

CML figures show that buy-to-let volumes shot up by 63 per cent to £6.7bn in the second half of 2002 compared with £4.1bn in the same period of 2001. In the first half of this year, just 174,000 first-time buyers bought a property, down from 253,000 in the first half of 2002.

Property Investor Show director Nick Clark says: “Our survey confirms landlords are enjoying buoyant times. With low interest rates and the surge in tenant demand from young individuals delaying their first home purchase, landlords have never had it so good.”

UCB Home Loans managing director Charles Reed says: “Increasing numbers of would-be first-time buyers are renting property while they save for the deposit on their first purchase. Our level of home ownership in this country is one of the highest in the world so perhaps we are becoming a bit more European in being more relaxed about renting.”

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