Buy-to-let investors face extinction? What will the world look like?

by: Mary-Anne Bowring

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Buy-to-let investors face extinction? What will the world look like?

Buy-to-let market 

Why do we continue to criticize house builders for selling to buy-to-let investors? Is that not PRS (private rented sector)? Apart from trophy properties in Zone 1 the overwhelming majority of buy-to-let properties are bought to be occupied, lived in by someone, these units are contributing the housing crisis and historically were one answer to the pensions crisis too an income producing investment for retirement. That is, until the government decided that it would squeeze all middle class buy-to-let landlords out of the market. What is wrong with keeping your pre-marital home and renting it if you can? Or having a handful of properties to provide for your future.

Well now you are not flavour of the month, unless you are a limited company you will be taxed out of the market. As the on-line filing date of 31st January 2017 approaches the squeeze starts in earnest with mortgage tax relief being phased out and the 10% wear and tear allowance abolished. It is clear government policy that they want our hard earned money in gilts, pension funds, stocks and shares not in property.

Are we to trust the city bankers again or shall we fund the government deficit instead both seem unpalatable so suffering the squeeze seems the only option. Just who was it who decided that all landlords apart from build to rent developers are the bad guys and just can't do it property. And, even if some landlords did behave badly, for all tenancies post 1st October 2015 if gas safety, deposit registration or repairs have not been expediently dealt what Shelter dub as revenge eviction can no longer occur as the legislation is clear and quite fatal to badly behaved landlords. The same smart thinkers have changed the purpose of social housing providers or Housing Associations as we call them as most of them are now developing for profit, just to fund their social purpose.

The only competent rationale offered for squeezing the buy-to-let investments out of the market is the proposition that perhaps a smaller market of buyers owner occupiers only would slow down house price growth. Perhaps, but that assumes that all the tenants of buy-to-let landlords would have some other housing provider to turn to as surely they still have to live somewhere? So until the government actually builds anything itself lets not bash the housebuilders who kick started PRS before it became appealing to the fund managers and was rebranded as build to rent.

What can happen 

We all welcome the funds stepping into build to rent as lifestyle community driven renting is a good model to establish and will over time drive standards up. Build to rent is unlikely to save London as it is so incredibly hard to make the numbers work. However, that it will rescue and regenerate the northern powerhouse is now clear. Brexit voters seek a less London centric UK and it would be nice to roll forward 50 years and see real competing cities, with a vibrant, community oriented lifestyle complimented by superb transport connections. Our contribution here at Ringley includes: building the budgets to model the gross to net modelling as well as modelling the add-on income to push the market value beyond bricks and mortar by taking into account operating income.

We have conducted market research on the must-have nice-to-have facilities covering 70 sites both in London and beyond as well as mood studies in the 18-30 group to consider issues such as the female perspective. As part of the design team we bring an insight into years of managed building problems having seen what doesn't. Other added value as Operator/Agent includes: developing the appropriate staffing strategy, building manuals & procedures, operator method & strategy documents, a community events blueprint. So in short, it is never too early to start planning how will the development work.