Majority of London based buy-to-let landlords still think of property as lucrative despite changes

The majority of buy-to-let landlords in London still believe that property is the best and least volatile long-term investment despite the housing market being affected by political and economic uncertainty.

Original article published by Property Wire, 28/06/2019

Some 73% considered property the best investment, according to a survey by letting and estate agent Benham and Reeves, but in the wake of a number of sector changes, 66% believe that the government would fail to implement any initiatives aimed to boost overseas investment in order to drive consumer demand.

With Brexit continuing to dominate the headlines with no end in sight, some 72% of investors have had their outlook on the UK property market altered since the vote to leave the European Union, with 68% now less confident in the market itself.

With more changes to property and investment laws on the horizon, 80% of those asked were unfamiliar with the latest changes to the buy-to-let market. Although only just implementing the recent changes to Section 21 notices have also had an impact, with 66% of investor now more cautious about investing.

However, opinion is divided over changes to buy-to-let tax relief changes and whether the sector still provides a good investment as a result, with 49% believing that it is and 51% no longer sure.

But, the current financial landscape has provided some assurance, with 60% confident that rates will remain low over the next five years and while 66% aren't as confident in an adequate return over this time period, 22% remain very confident, with just over 10% not at all confident.

However, with buy-to-let always requiring a long-term investment outlook, this increased to 37% of investors feeling very confident that they will see an adequate return over the next 10 years, with a further 6% stating they were extremely confident and 51% not as confident.

Despite the recent dent in sentiment, 83% of investors stated it was either unlikely or very unlikely that they would sell their property over the next year, with the majority, 58%, staying put for five years.

But with market uncertainty still hanging over the sector, just 21% of investors would consider investing in a property in the next 12 months, although half of those asked would consider expanding their portfolio within the next five years.

According to Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, a consistent string of detrimental changes to the sector through stamp duty increases, tax relief changes and a ban on tenant fees has had the desired impact of denting industry sentiment and dampening appetite for future investment due to a reduction in profitability.

"However, for the institutional buy-to-let investor, this is but a mere blip on a much longer timeline and the overwhelming overtones are that while Brexit poses a challenging obstacle for the immediate future, the market remains the investment option of choice with many confident on a return further down the line" he explained.

"This is a testament to the durability of buy-to-let in the UK. Despite a government backed clamp down, it remains a lucrative business and one that continues to gain the backing of those that are on the frontline," he added.

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