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Paragon sees fall in first-time landlords

Paragon Mortgages&#39 first-quarter 2004 survey of mortgage advisers and brokers has shown a fall in first-time buy-to-let landlords and a rise in the number of landlords increasing their portfolios.

The proportion of established landlords extending their portfolios rose from 37 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2003 to 42 per cent, continuing the upward trend seen in the last two years. First-time landlords are down from 30 per cent to 27 per cent.

This is despite the Association of Residential Letting Agents&#39 survey at the start of March saying that 40 per cent of buy-to-let landlords have been in the market for a year or less. Both Paragon and Arla have expressed concern over “novice” landlords&#39 ability to repay their mortgages.

The mortgage market as a whole has seen a shift tow-ards base rate trackers. In Q1, base rate trackers rose from 31 per cent to 35 per cent of mortgages.

Mortgage advisers say they are confident that business will continue to rise into Q2 and hope to do 5.4 per cent more business than in Q1.

Paragon Mortgages managing director John Heron says: “The typical landlord is becoming more experienced and is more likely to be adding to his buy-to-let portfolio than buying his first investment property, contrary to what some commentators are suggesting.

“This growing level of expertise is welcome from the lender&#39s point of view as it makes buy-to-let business safer and more sustainable.”

London & Country mortgage specialist David Hollingworth says: “These figures may be an indication of concerns caused by interest rate rises and fears of a house price crash. It will be interesting to see how this develops and whether this is just a temporary dip in confidence.”

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