Dorian Gonsalves, director of commercial and franchising at Belvoir, is urging the government to dramatically increase the availability of social housing for rent to provide security for thousands of tenants.
He says throughout the past year the government and the Bank of England made it clear through tax, stamp duty and mortgage regime changes that they were keen to limit any possible housing bubble through a range of measures deterring investment purchases which may contribute to house price inflation.
“However, there is already a housing shortage, and if landlords continue to have second thoughts about buying properties in 2016 this will further reduce the number of rental properties that are desperately needed. Increased government interference in the buy to let market will put a real squeeze on the supply of property in the rental market in 2016 and beyond” Gonsalves warns.
“I am concerned that government schemes such as Help to Buy are very useful for those tenants who want to buy a property but will not help the thousands of tenants across the country who choose not to buy or are not in a position to buy. These thousands of tenants now seem to be a forgotten sector of the housing market” he says.
Belvoir - which now has 211 franchised offices across the UK - predicts house prices will rise at least five per cent this year, in a pattern that “is likely to continue for the next four to five years.”
Gonsalves says that for highly-geared landlords in low-yield areas it is possible that buy to let will no longer be profitable.
“Providing social housing for rent has never been the responsibility of the private landlord, but clearly in the past 12 months this distinction has been blurred. Successive governments have failed to build sufficient social housing for rent and Belvoir is calling for this shortfall to be redressed. We hope that during 2016 the government will focus on providing increased social housing for rent and that private landlords will no longer be expected to bridge this immense gap.”