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Graham Awards


'You're completely wrong' trade body tells Tory-backing think tank

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.”

  • Andrew McCausland

    Seems more to do with re-positioning the Conservative Party to win votes from Generation Rent than anything to do with economics. The whole of government policy toward housing is disjointed. You can't try an encourage more home ownership on one side whilst also asking the BOE to make it substantially harder to get a mortgage on the other. Even with Help to Buy etc, the majority of renters cannot get the deposit together or can't meet the lending criteria to access a mortgage. So step forward the "scum" landlord to steal the property away to actually house these people. It might be different if local authorities or central government actually dipped their hands into their own pockets and built the housing required. Until they do this the country needs the private landlords to provide the housing required.

  • icon

    The bottom line is that house prices have to fall to realistic affordable levels. Government intervention has kept prices high when the market should have been allowed to find its own level.


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