The reasons behind ‘landlord churn’ – when buy to let investors sell up – are more connected with personal circumstances than with policy changes or the introduction of new taxes, according to campaigning charity Shelter.
The charity – which earlier this week produced data claiming 10 per cent of landlords quit the buy to let sector each year – has now unveiled research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research.
This suggests that recent policy changes had “only limited influence” on landlords’ decisions to sell, and instead issues such as their age or enthusiasm for being a landlord was a much more important factor.
“We know from previous research that a large proportion of private landlords are older people and – in any given year – may want to retire from being a landlord. Thirty five per cent of current landlords are over the age of 65. We also know that a quarter of landlords only got into the business accidentally and may not be in it for the long-term” says a blog on the Shelter website.
It claims that 13 per cent of landlords only started letting their property because they wanted to sell but couldn’t, and that many of this group may sell imminently.
Another 12 per cent of landlords say they started because they inherited the property and may have no interest in doing it for the long-term.
Shelter also claims that future policy changes such as the continuation of the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief, and possible interest rate rises, would probably not significantly change landlords’ views of whether to stay in or leave the sector.
The research concludes: “…the landlords interviewed showed a strong commitment to the private rented sector and are not likely to leave in a hurry…Falls in house prices, or reduced profits, are unlikely to make many sell up…Landlords appear, overall, to respond to changes in the economic or fiscal environment by changing the rate at which they purchase new properties, rather than sell existing stock.”
Shelter ends its blog by claiming that in general “the link between moderate policy change and landlord exit is loose and not as important as changes in personal circumstances.”