From a landlord's perspective, it has been a tough year, with a raft of changes designed to bring the booming housing market under control and create what the former chancellor George Osborne described as a "level playing field" between homeowners and investors.
Aside from the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge in April, the 10% Wear and Tear tax relief for landlords who rent out furnished homes has been abolished, leaving them free to only claim for the amount that they have spent, while mortgage tax relief is set to be phased out from next year.
In addition, the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee is being granted greater powers over the buy-to-let market, which will make it even harder to get a mortgage, while landlords have also been hit with new rules, which include having to check the residency of their tenants along with various health and safety regulations.
In short, the government's decision to introduce a number of measures to curb the growth of buy-to-let landlords has prompted concern that the buy-to-let windfall may be coming to an end.
However, signs are that demand for buy-to-let properties is starting to improve once more, as illustrated by the latest HMRC data, according to buy-to-let mortgage specialist, Bob Young.
Young, the chief executive officer of Fleet Mortgages, commented: "Recent data from HMRC appears to show growing activity and appetite amongst buy-to-let landlords to purchase and, with a market highly sympathetic at the moment to those who are considering their remortgage options."
Fleet mortgages believe that it is currently a good time for mortgage advisers to be supporting buy-to-let landlords looking to invest further in the private rented sector, and that is why the specialist buy-to-let lender has refreshed its entire product range with new products available for individuals, limited companies and those seeking finance for HMOs and multi-unit blocks.
The new range includes higher maximum loan-to-values (LTVs) from 70% to 75% as well as a series of price reductions and criteria changes.
Young commented: "It has undoubtedly been an interesting few months for the buy-to-let market, and after a somewhat topsy-turvy summer, we are starting to see a more stable environment. Demand for buy-to-let lending has begun to improve and we are therefore very pleased to announce the refresh of our product range, which contains an increase in maximum LTV back up to 75% as well as some exciting changes to our lifetime trackers offered at pay rate.
"We have also cut our fixed rates for both limited company and HMO/multi-unit products and believe they, along with our individual offering, remain particularly competitive in the current market environment."
"Next year's PRA buy-to-let underwriting changes will force many lenders into pulling back from the market, however our appetite at Fleet Mortgages for quality lending to quality borrowers will not flag, and as a specialist we will continue to offer both advisers and their clients everything they should be looking for from a leader in the field. We believe this new range shows our ongoing commitment to the sector and to supporting the needs of all stakeholders," he added.
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