View more on these topics

Northern lights beckon buy-to-let borrowers

Most lenders and brokers dismiss speculation that the buy-to-let bubble is set to burst but many warn that falling yields in London are a sign that buy to let is reaching saturation point in the South-east.

National broker Park Row Independent Mortgages says it is advising clients to buy properties in the North, where rental yields can be as high as 20 per cent compared with 4 per cent in the South-east.

Adviser Paul Singleton says: “More experienced investors are looking to expand their portfolio to the North. I would say buy loads in the North as long as you make sure you are getting the right property that will give a decent return.”

Broker club Mortgage Intelligence managing director Sally Laker says: “London reaching saturation point is not necessarily indicative of buy to let throughout the country. Our brokers are still doing a lot of business.

“Although yields have dropped, certainly in London, a yield of 4 per cent plus capital growth is not matched by many investments and means that buy to let is still a very viable proposition.”

Yet some commentators warn that property values may not grow as much in the North as in the South-east and that it may be difficult to dispose of investment properties.

Prudential national mortgage manager John Malone says: “People must differentiate between what is seen as simple buy to let and a geared investment with capital protection.”

Specialist lender Mortgage Express believes higher yields reflect lower property values. Product development manger Roger Hillier says: “Falling yields in the South-east do not surprise me if you look at the scale of capital growth in the last 12 months in parts of London. Investors should not just look at the rental yield but also consider how much the capital value of the property will increase.”

National broker Charcol is advising clients to use some of the profits generated in London over the past few years to invest further afield. Senior technical manager Ray Boulger says: “We have a few clients who got into the buy-to-let market and made a profit but have found it difficult to get new tenants. Some have made the commercial decision to take the profits and invest them in areas in the North that are not oversupplied.”

But the Association of Letting Agents, which gathers statistics from the main lenders in the market, says it has not seen a noticeable shift from London. Instead, it suggests that the London market may be returning to normality after a few years of inflated yields.

The Mortgage Business&#39s analysis of the first six months of 2002 shows little difference from last year, with London and the South-east still accounting for about 29 per cent of its buy-to-let lending, followed by the South-west on 13 per cent and the North-west on 11 per cent.

Managing director Bill Dudgeon says: “Provided that investors take a long-term view, do their homework and pick the right property, everything looks good.”

Although views may vary on whether the South-east is becoming saturated, commentators agree there is a lot of life left in the market as a whole and it remains a profitable long-term investment.

This optimism is given credence by new figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders showing that £5.5bn of buy-to-let loans were taken out in the first six months of 2002, up from £2.5bn in the same period last year.

Director general Michael Coogan says: “Against the backdrop of recent stockmarket turbulence, it is not surprising that the buy-to-let market has grown strongly. Although rental yields are falling in some areas, landlords are continuing to find buy to let attractive and are not having any significant problems in meeting their mortgage payments.”

A sign of confidence in buy to let is the move by some of the biggest lenders in the market to improve their borrowing criteria to boost business. Brokers are finding that clients are willing to go for good discounted deals rather than fixed rates.

Laker says: “The product bias has switched from fixed to base-rate trackers with no redemption penalties since April this year.”

Mortgage Express last month doubled its maximum total loan for buy to let to£2m after its research showed that 63 per cent of landlords plan to increase their portfolios over the next two years.

Hillier says: “Despite speculation in the press that the market may be saturated and the buy-to-let bubble is about to burst, it is clear to us, as we have said all along, that property investors are confident in the market&#39s long-term prospects.”

The market is in agreement that buy to let as a whole remains strong and, in the context of turbulent stockmarkets, makes a good long term investment.

Coogan says: “The sector continues to offer good prospects over the long term but borrowers need to continue to take a realistic view of the risks as well as the rewards. Fundamentally, buy to let remains sound and we expect it to continue to be popular in the future.”

Recommended

Aegon to cut 600 staff

Aegon UK is looking to lose up to 600 jobs to balance out its purchase of IFAs in a bid to become a top 5 player. Most of the jobs are likely to go at its Edinburgh headquarters. It says investments in technology will lead to cost savings of £40m by next year.Aegon UK group […]

Warning of exclusions from basic cover

IFAs are warning that professional indemnity insurers are increasingly excluding different business types from basic PI cover, putting more of the risk of pension work on to the adviser. Some IFAs&#39 basic PI premiums have increased by up to 300 per cent but what they are getting for that basic cover is diminishing, with insurers […]

Ruling leaves Abbey Nat facing £10m payout

Abbey National faces payouts totalling up to £10m to 20,000 customers after the Financial Ombudsman upheld a complaint over mortgage pricing. The ruling against Abbey&#39s “dual-pricing” policy follows a customer complaint that a cashback mortgage deal remained linked to the standard variable rate of 7 per cent despite offering its cheaper Classic base rate tracker […]

&#39Son of with-profits&#39 for Scottish Equitable

Scottish Equitable is to launch a “son of with-profits” unit-linked smooth managed fund in the next month. It intends this product to be the main fund for bonds and an option for pensions. The smoothing element is likely to be diminished. Industry commentators say a unit-linked structure would be financially attractive as it would be […]

Cricket - thumbnail

England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com