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New-builds for landlords: Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage?

Landlords are increasingly targeting new-builds – particularly in city centre apartment blocks – as a future-proof investment, but how easy is it to get a mortgage?

Buyer appetite for new-builds remains strong across the UK, with data for the first quarter of 2024 showing that 19.1% of new-build homes listed for sale across major cities had already found a buyer. However, this is not only the case for homebuyers, as landlords are increasingly seeing the benefits of new properties.

This has remained the case even since the government moved the goalposts on minimum energy efficiency in rental homes last year – because people’s bills remain high, while the cost of living crisis continues to affect most households in some way, meaning tenants are more keen than ever to lower their energy costs.

With recent polls showing that tenants are increasingly interested in the energy efficiency of their properties, new-builds are an effective way of giving renters what they want, while requiring minimal maintenance and removing the need for any upgrade work in the coming years if a new government changes its outlook on EPCs.

However, for those landlords that need to borrow to buy, a big question is whether it is possible to secure a buy-to-let mortgage on a new property – as well as whether a mortgage can also be secured if buying off-plan, which is another popular way of investors maximising their returns.

Buy-to-let mortgage on a new-build?

The short answer is that yes, landlords can secure a buy-to-let mortgage on a brand-new property, and you can even secure a mortgage on an off-plan home. With a large volume of new apartment blocks being constructed in major cities across the UK, demand for these products is especially high.

However, it is worth noting that there may be different criteria if you are looking to secure buy-to-let borrowing for a new property compared to an existing one. Revolution Brokers recommends using a mortgage broker that is experienced in new-build purchases.

They also note some of the benefits to investing in a brand new property, aside from the energy efficiency credentials, including lower maintenance costs, no need for development or refurbishment, and the ability to start generating rental income immediately.

However, it is worth noting that some lenders require higher deposits for this type of borrowing, as West One Loans points out, while lenders may also spend more time scrutinising the application due to the greater level of risk involved.

But it also points out the myriad benefits of investing in a new property: “Investing in new builds as part of your Buy-to-Let portfolio will have many advantages when compared to purchasing a secondhand property.

“The new build can appeal to tenants due to its newness; landlords may be able to charge a premium in rent because of the condition of the property, there will be minimal maintenance costs, property and goods will be under warranty and the property will meet proposed EPC regulations. And, as with a lot of things, new is often better.”

Landlords buying off-plan

There are numerous benefits to buying property off-plan, particularly if you are looking for a long-term investment strategy.

The most notable advantage is the greater potential for capital growth and profitability on the value of the property, as getting in before the property is completed and placed onto the open market tends to secure a good discount. To do this, you can buy direct from the developer using a property investment company like BuyAssociation.

You can also often secure the best units within the development if you get in early, as an incentive to buy. If you’re investing in a property to rent out, this can be particularly advantageous as you can ensure you buy the most appealing apartment for tenants.

The fact the property you will end up owning is a new-build also means improved energy efficiency standards, a 10-year builder’s warranty and brand-new fixtures and fittings. These factors are extremely appealing to buyers and tenants alike, and can attract much stronger rents than older homes.

If you’re a landlord and you’d like to find out more about investing in a new-build in some of the UK’s best-performing locations, get in touch with BuyAssociation today.

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