ARLA confirms the worst - tenants will pay for buy to let tax changes

The new stamp duty surcharge on buy to let properties coming into effect next Friday will increase rent costs for tenants and trigger a decline in the supply of available properties claims the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

ARLA says some 52 per cent of members have reported an uplift in interest from buyers looking to invest in BTL properties before the stamp duty reforms come into effect –  an increase from 47 per cent in January. However, after the deadline, two thirds predict that supply will fall as landlords are pushed out of the market.

Around 57 per cent of members agree rents will be pushed up once the stamp duty reforms have come in to effect, as increased costs for landlords are passed through to tenants. This is especially high in London, where three quarters of letting agents expect to see this happening.

“The stamp duty changes are now imminent, and as well as hitting small landlord’s, they will also impact institutional investors. Although members are reporting a rush from landlords trying to snap up their buy to let investments now, it’s likely that we’ll see the buy-to-let market drop like a stone come April and probably not pick up again until next year. This will most certainly cause rents to increase, with supply dropping, as competition for the limited availability of properties intensifies” says David Cox, managing director of ARLA.

Meanwhile demand rose by almost a fifth in February, with an average 37 prospective tenants registered per member branch. This is the highest level seen since February last year, when an average 40 tenants were registered per branch. 

Alongside growing demand, the supply of rental properties on letting agents’ books increased to 176 in February, a rise from 172 in January.

“We are concerned that the government rhetoric of wanting to help people onto the housing ladder does not tally with their action of continuing to target the rental market with additional costs. Some landlords will simply withdraw from the market whereas others who can take the hit of the extra stamp duty will simply raise rents” says Cox.


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