The conclusions of a new think tank analysing the private rental sector are “fundamentally wrong” according to a trade body.
The Residential Landlords’ Association says the Conservative-supporting think tank Onward claims that at the end of 2017 buy to let lending was above the 2007 peak.
In fact, the association says, new buy to let lending for house purchases has fallen from over 183,000 loans in 2007 to just 74,900 in 2017, a fall of nearly 60 per cent - that data come from UK Finance, formerly the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
The total number of buy to let mortgages, including re-mortgages, also fell from 339,000 in 2007 to 227,000 in 2017, a drop of a third.
The RLA insists the private rented sector is actually shrinking with the government’s own statistics showing that the number of private rented dwellings in England fell by 46,000 in the year to March 2017.
A statement from the association says: “On the back of its false assertion, Onward calls for further tax increases to reduce investment in new homes for private rent.
“It argues that if the country had kept the ratio of privately-rented to privately-owned homes the same between 2000 and 2015, it would have ended up with 2.2 million more homes in owner-occupation.
“This ignores the question of whether all of these households would have been able to afford a home of their own, especially as house prices rose by 154 per cent over that period.”
David Smith, the RLA policy director, says: “[The] report is riddled with errors and fails to address the fundamental point that we need more homes to rent, not less.
“Rather than coming out with ideological assaults on the private rented sector, we need to reform tax so that it encourages the development of new homes to rent and longer tenancies so that the sector can adequately provide the pathway for tenants to go from renting to home ownership.”