By Paul Mahoney, Managing Director of Nova Financial
There is presently much debate in the buy-to-let community and in the press with regards to how recent events and legislative changes are likely to affect the market, and whether buy-to-let is still a viable investment option.
Although, I’m confident that if you’re reading this article, that you’d be familiar with the changes, for clarity, I will name a few;
To date, landlords have been very resilient and, although some surveys suggest a slowdown in buying appetite and some considering selling, at Nova Financial, we’ve experienced the opposite. Our clients are simply buying properties at lower values and with higher yields, predominantly in the North West of England. These properties circumvent the repercussions of the changes by generating more profit, hence tax doesn’t hurt as much. They also fit into the lower Stamp Duty thresholds and solve mortgage servicing issues.
There was speculation that the changes would result in increased rents due to landlords trying to cover their increased tax bill and buying costs, however, to date, this hasn’t occurred. I believe that many overestimate the landlord’s control over rents, as they do not set rents, the market does and, if a landlord charges too much for their property, it won’t rent. However, if the changes result in less supply of rental properties available and, given there is a growing demand, rents will go up due to the market.
The number of new purchases have fallen, especially since the introduction of the Stamp Duty premium in April 2016. This is a concern, as new builds are the new supply that is required to solve the UK housing crisis. If new builds aren’t bought, then they aren’t built, and we have very little chance of building the number of houses needed per annum. This will drive house prices and rents higher. I concur with recent comments made by Tory MP Iain Duncan-Smith, that the Government should incentivise landlords to buy new builds to help solve the abovementioned problem.
It seems very unlikely that section 24 will be reversed any time soon, especially given the Parliament’s current workload with Brexit to be resolved, however, I’d say there is a slight chance that the Stamp Duty premium could be changed. Many viewed the changes as an attempt to professionalise the buy-to-let market, which, in a way, it has done, by driving many to invest through limited companies, whether this be good or bad. It is very likely though that landlords were viewed as an easy target, due to bad public opinion, for a tax grab.
Buy-to-let is still a very viable and potentially lucrative investment. At Nova Financial, most of our clients are currently achieving net yields on funds invested of 10%+ and, add to that the average growth in housing over the past 20 years per annum of 5%+, that brings the yearly returns on cash invested to over 30%! This return may seem very high, but that’s the benefits of high levels of borrowings at low interest rates when investing in high yielding growth areas. This is what separates property investment as the clear winner from all other investment options.
If you have any questions or would like to determine how Nova Financial can be of assistance, please call 0203 8000 600, visit www.nova.financial or email firstname.lastname@example.org