Landlords’ confidence in the buy to let sector has collapsed to an all-time low and is now “worse than levels witnessed during the financial crash” according to a trade body.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, says confidence in landlords’ business expectations has tumbled by more than a third over the past year – down from 67 per cent to an all-time low of 43 per cent.
The current level of confidence in the BTL sector is now five per cent lower than levels witnessed after the financial crash in 2007.
Lambert says actions taken by Chancellor George Osborne in last year’s Budget and Autumn Statement have led the NLA to reverse its previous prediction of the continued growth of the private rented sector by another million more households over the next five years.
It now forecasts that, if landlords follow through on their intentions, there will be a dramatic sell-off of 500,000 properties in the next 12 months, followed by another 100,000 sold each year to 2021.
The net effect will be that the PRS be smaller by up to 136,000 properties.
Research by the association suggests that the proportion of landlords looking to sell in next 12 months has more than doubled since July 2015, and that over the next few years
28 per cent of landlords do not plan to purchase more properties, while 10 per cent plan to reduce the size of their portfolio and five per cent intend to sell up completely.
“Two speeches from the Chancellor in 2015 have led to a crisis in confidence greater than when all but a few BTL products were immediately withdrawn from the market following the 2007 financial crash. Up to half a million properties could come onto the market as a result of the Budget and Autumn Statement, which the Chancellor will no doubt deem a success” says Lambert.
“We’ve always said that Mr Osborne is blinded to the impact of his decisions by his commitment to homeownership. He may have intended to focus on the small-scale part-time investor, but it’s the larger and more professional landlords who will be hit worst by cuts to mortgage tax relief and increases to stamp duty, and who appear most likely to leave the sector” he insists.