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Cash is king for London buy to let as mortgage access tightens

The proportion of landlords purchasing buy to let homes in London with cash rose from 33 per cent in 2017 to 48 per cent in 2018 according to an analysis by Countrywide’s high-end brand Hamptons International.

It says harsher stress testing on buy-to-let mortgages, combined with the tapering of mortgage interest tax relief has made it more difficult and less appealing for some landlords to get a mortgage.  

This is particularly true in lower yielding areas such as London where landlords tend to have bigger mortgages.  

As a result in 2018 a higher proportion of landlords in the capital purchased with cash, often raising the money by re-mortgaging other assets.

Across Great Britain, the proportion of cash landlord purchases actually dipped from 55 per cent in 2017 to 54 per cent in 2018.  

Wales and London were the only regions recording a rise. Scotland saw the biggest fall in cash sales: here the proportion of buy to let homes purchased with cash dropped seven per cent to 47 per cent. 

Historically, landlords in London were most likely to use a mortgage to purchase their buy to lets, but this changed in 2018.  

Meanwhile the average rent of a new let in Great Britain rose to £965 pcm in February, says Hamptons.  

Rental growth nearly doubled between January and February this year, from 0.6 per cent in January to 1.1 per cent in February.  

London rents drove the increase, rising 2.4 per cent year-on-year.  

Four other regions, the South East (down 0.6 per cent), South West (down 0.4 per cent), Scotland (falling 1.2 per cent) and Wales (dipping 0.2 per cent) recorded year-on-year price falls.

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