Landlords Rush to Lock In Record Low Buy-to-Let Mortgage Deals For Investment Properties
Investment property owners are mobilising themselves to lock in the record low rates currently on offer for buy-to-let mortgages. Re-mortgages account for the biggest slice of the market with 14,000 completed over August, marking a 4.5% leap on the same month the previous year. However, there is clear evidence that Brexit uncertainty and changes to the tax regime for landlords as well as stamp duty increases is taking its toll on the numbers of new investment properties being added to portfolios. Buy-to-let mortgages taken out on newly acquired properties dropped by 14% on the previous year, down to a total of 6000.
However, for landlords with existing investment properties, the waning new demand for buy-to-let mortgages is providing some welcome relief to a business model that has come under assault from the recent overhaul of previous tax breaks. Despite two recent Bank of England hikes to the base interest rate the cost of buy-to-let mortgages has fallen. The average rate now being offered for a 5-year fixed rate mortgage for investment properties has dropped to 3.4%. Two years ago, when the Bank of England benchmark rate was a record low 0.25%, average 5-year fixed rate mortgages were 3.77%. In April of this year, with BoE rate at 0.5%, the average offer was 3.55%.
Charlotte Nelson of comparison site Moneyfacts, whose data the figures above are based on, believes that the tight market for investment properties is pushing providers into absorbing the cost of small recent benchmark interest rate rises. The best rates available at the moment are 2.13% for 5 years offered by Virgin Money and a 2-year 1.49% fixed rate by Barclays. Both, however, do require deposits of 40% and come with fees of £1995 and £1795 respectively.
The current uncertainty of the Brexit negotiation process and how the UK economy will react over the next few years makes fixed term mortgages on investment properties particularly attractive to landlords. Landlords are also aware that the trend towards the Bank of England and other major international central banks gradually raising interest rates, which is expected to continue, means the fixed rate offers currently available on the market are unlikely to remain on the market for a prolonged period of time. As such, they are rushing to lock in the attractive rates now, helping to cushion the blow of receding tax breaks with tax relief on mortgage interest payments being phased out by the 2020/21 tax year.
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