Buy-to-let booms for second consecutive month

Landlord borrowing rose by 61% year-on-year in February as the buy-to-let boom continued ahead of the stamp duty surcharge deadline.

Today’s Council of Mortgage Lenders data shows that landlord borrowing stood at £3.7bn in February, with the number of loans coming to 23,700, an increase of 47% year-on-year.

This was the second consecutive month buy-to-let boomed, with landlords also borrowing £3.7bn in January 2016.

The 3% stamp duty surcharge came into force on 1 April 2016.

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: “Buy-to-let goes from strength to strength but of course the figures will be skewed by landlords bringing forward their purchases to beat the stamp duty deadline.

“It will be interesting to see what the market has in store over the next six months or so – it is highly likely that purchase numbers will slip although we expect remortgaging to continue to thrive as landlords squeeze every last penny out of their investments to help cover other tax changes such as the reduction in mortgage interest tax relief.”

First-time buyer and homeowner borrowing was also up 21% year-on-year, while remortgage lending increased by 37% in terms of value.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “In 2016, there have been substantial increases in house purchase and remortgage activity year-on-year.

“This reflects the sluggish market in early 2015, perhaps driven by election uncertainties.

“Buy-to-let has also seen substantial year-on-year increases, with particularly strong growth in remortgaging, a pattern which we have seen in the buy-to-let sector the past six months.

“Activity has been boosted by landlords seeking to complete purchases before tax changes in April. We do not expect activity to show such strong year-on-year growth later in the year.”

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