The number of buy to let transactions across England and Wales has fallen 8.2 per cent in one month and is down an extraordinary 63.7 per cent on the year according to Haart.
The agency says the number of landlords registering to buy properties is down 59.2 per cent on 12 months ago and chief executive Paul Smith says it’s time for the government to end what he describes as a “war” on the private rental sector.
“Landlords have clearly pulled out of the market and are unlikely to return any time soon. This is entirely the result of government policy, with Theresa May now picking up George Osborne’s baton and proceeding to bash landlords with renewed vigour” says Smith, who cites the end of tax relief on mortgages, the three per cent stamp duty surcharge, strict new lending criteria, and now a ban on tenant letting fees as evidence of such a war.
“The effect has been to more than halve the number of buy to let sales in England and Wales, and the inevitable consequence will be fewer properties available to renters next year and higher rents” he says.
“The government is making a conscious decision to put landlords on the block for a property market that isn’t working for first time buyers or Generation Rent. However rather than chasing investors out of the market altogether, a better solution would be to channel their cash into housebuilding and increasing the supply of rental properties” he urges.
Smith adds that: “Tenants are stuck in an intensely competitive market where rents are often more expensive than mortgages, because there are simply not enough properties available for lettings, and many landlords now have no choice but to pass the extra costs on to tenants. We need a more grown-up and serious approach to policy-making, as well as a recognition of the contribution that landlords make.”