Buy-to-let landlords should “act now” to purchase investment property

Property investors and landlords are flooding to the UK property market, including buyers from overseas. Here’s why buyers should act quickly to secure their next investment property.

High levels of activity are continuing across the UK housing market, and the buy-to-let space is no different. In recent weeks, mortgage lender Skipton International has noted a major spike in enquiries from landlords. The firm believes buyers seeking rental property should push ahead with their purchases sooner rather than later.

Mortgage interest rates are still extremely competitive in both the owner-occupier and buy-to-let space. The stamp duty holiday means buyers can make further savings, making it a potentially lucrative time to invest.

However, with an end date for the stamp duty holiday set for 31st March 2021, there is limited time to take advantage of the savings. A new stamp duty rate for overseas buyers will also take effect from 1st April 2021. This will see foreign investors paying an additional 2% on purchases.

“Inundated” with applications

According to Skipton International, the current market conditions have made it a busy time in the sector.

Managing director Jim Coupe said: “Our mortgage team has been inundated with applications for UK buy-to-let purchases over the last few months.

“The low interest rates combined with the stamp duty holiday in England has seen a sharp increase in those looking to invest in good quality property for letting purposes.”

There is currently no indication that the Bank of England will raise interest rates imminently. However, some mortgage rates are increasing already across the market, so it’s a good time to secure a competitive deal. There is also a lack of availability of products on offer right now, particularly on high loan to values. This can make finding the best deal more of a challenge for some borrowers.

Overseas investors still keen on UK property

The mortgage lender has also noticed a big rise in overseas interest in the UK property market. This is a result of a combination of factors, including attractive exchange rates. The sector is also historically seen a safe place to invest compared to riskier stocks and shares. This can be especially pertinent during times of uncertainty.

Speaking to BuyAssociation, Jim Coupe says a lower stamp duty bill is another big incentive for foreign investors.

“Skipton International currently has a record number of applications being processed and we are achieving our target turnaround time of under three working days,” he comments. “We are, however, starting to experience short delays in receiving property surveys.

“Skipton International would hence encourage potential purchasers to apply early if at all possible to ensure completion during the SDLT holiday.”

He adds that the firm also offers a tool to help buyers work out their borrowing ability and mortgage costs. This can help buy-to-let investors act quickly in the “current buoyant market”.

The best locations for buy-to-let

Choosing the best location for an investment property is a key challenge of any purchase. Much of the decision-making process will come down to the individual investor’s needs. However, for those keen to stay ahead of the market, investors looking outside the ‘traditional’ areas are proving successful.

Jim Coupe comments: “London and the south-east have historically seen the most demand for buy-to-let enquiries from British expats and overseas residents. This continues to be the case.

“However, there is solid interest in city locations across the UK, with Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham being some of the most popular locations in the north of England.”

Last month, a study by CIA Landlord also showed the value of these areas as investment property hotspots. The research found that Salford, Manchester and Leeds in particular were the most profitable locations.

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