One of the most respected buying agencies, Black Brick, says the collapse in demand for buy to let is the most striking of the changes undergone by the London property market in recent years.
In a review of its transactions back from today to 2014 - before the most recent stamp duty and buy to let tax changes were introduced - the agency’s managing partner Camilla Dell says the findings are striking.
“The most striking change is in the collapse of demand for buy to let properties. In 2014, more than a third (38 per cent) of our searches were for rental investment properties. Last year, the figure had fallen to five per cent.”
She says the raft of measures introduced in favour of owner occupancy - such as the additional homes stamp duty surcharge, scrapping landlords’ wear and tear allowance, and the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief - “succeeded in spades.”
The agency says that without doubt, tax changes mean that some landlords are looking to sell one or more investment properties, particularly those bought with large percentages of debt.
On the other hand, it says that many more of her customers - ones which may have previously been in search of rental returns - are now opting to use second properties as actual second homes.
“This allows them to remain exposed to the London property market, without the hassle and expense of letting the property” notes the agency.
Black Brick says that overall the number of deals it handled in 2014 and the past year were broadly similar, but with a very different mix.
In the last year, some 53 per cent of its clients were looking for a pied a terre, compared with 24 per cent in the earlier period; and slightly more were looking for a family residence in 2017-18, at 42 per cent, compared with 34 per cent in 2014.