Welcome to the world of buy-to-let! If you are an active property investor, you are always seeking new opportunities and ways to maximise your profits. However, in recent times, the UK’s buy-to-let market has undergone significant changes that have left many investors wondering about their prospects. With rising interest rates, increasing lenders’ fees and tightening affordability criteria, it can be tough to navigate this complex market to find the correct buy-to-let mortgage.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what’s happening in the current state of the buy-to-let market in the UK and how lenders are responding to these changes. So, let’s dive right into it!
Increase in Interest Rates and Affordability.
The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the 12th consecutive time, now at 4.5%, the highest in almost 15 years. These rates would have been unthinkable only 12 months ago, but now they are a reality we must work with. Higher interest rates are affecting the affordability of those investing in buy-to-let properties. Higher mortgage payments mean landlords must increase their rents or accept lower profits.
Moreover, stricter affordability criteria from lenders mean the level of borrowing that can be achieved on current rental income is much lower. So, landlords may not achieve the typical 75% loan-to-value we all got familiar with. The result of this, is existing landlords can’t borrow additional funds and sometimes switching lenders on a like-for-like basis may not always be possible. First-time landlords may find it even more challenging to get onto the investment property ladder as they compete with established landlords who already own multiple properties, and the level of borrowing required, is sometimes not an issue to them.
However, there is still some good news for buy-to-let investors. The demand for rental properties remains high due to an ongoing shortage of affordable homes across the UK. As a result, rents are rising, and lenders are adapting their criteria and product ranges to find ways to continue lending into the UK’s buy-to-let property market.
A New Trend in Rising Lenders Fees.
As the challenges within the buy-to-let market evolve, lenders are adapting. One area to note is that their set-up fees have increased to reflect the changing landscape. It’s now common to see higher fee products to compensate for lower interest rates. The advantage of these products is that landlords can achieve higher borrowing levels they require.
While it may seem frustrating for investors, rising lender fees shouldn’t discourage potential buyers to enter the market. Instead, they must understand these additional costs and just factor them into their calculations.
It’s worth noting that there are ways around some of these charges – such as opting for deals with lower upfront fees but higher interest rates and considering a longer-term fixed rate of 5 years or more or selecting a lender that will use “Top Slicing”, which considers your background income to support an application.
Ultimately, while rising lender fees may feel like an added expense, knowledgeable investors will see them as another aspect of managing successful buy-to-let investments.
Maximising the opportunities.
As we have seen, the UK buy-to-let market is changing with rising interest rates and lender fees on buy-to-let mortgage products. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for property investors. Landlords can still find good opportunities to add to their portfolios by carefully researching lenders and comparing their products.
At Pinpoint Finance, we can help you with this; we have invested heavily in ways to constantly review the market, compare thousands of products and ultimately find the best solutions for our customers.
For landlords, maximising these opportunities means staying up to date with the current state of the market and being flexible in terms of investment strategies. For example, consider Holiday Lets to add to your portfolio where demand remains high or view higher-yielding properties, like Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) or Multi-Unit Freehold Blocks (MUFBs). Such properties may mean stepping away from the mainstream High Street named lenders and using more specialist funders that operate in these markets.
Ultimately, success in the buy-to-let market will require seeking specialist buy-to-let mortgage advice, informed decision-making, and a willingness to adapt as circumstances change. With these tools, landlords should be able to navigate this evolving landscape successfully and continue building profitable portfolios well into the future.