Buy-to-let mortgage activity increased slightly in April, with landlord investors taking out 5,100 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages, up from 5,000 a month earlier, the latest figures from UK Finance show.
The data also reveals that there were 14,400 remortgages in the buy-to-let sector – unchanged month-on-month.
According to the trade body, there was a significant increase in homemover mortgages, as well as first-time buyer deals.
There were 25,450 homemover mortgages completed in April, while the number of first-time buyer deals hit 27,370.
Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, commented: “It appears from these latest figures from UK Finance that the mortgage market is, for the most part, in good health. Even the buy-to-let sector is holding its head above water which, given the regulatory and tax changes that landlords have had to withstand, is somewhat surprising.
“Although there are many investors holding fire in the commercial world, the same cannot be said for consumer confidence. And, as we head into the summer months, when historically we expect to see an uplift in the housing market, I can see the current trend continuing.”
But despite the slight improvement in buy-to-let lending, it is hard to ignore the fact that buy-to-let mortgage lending has plummeted in recent years.
Simon Heawood, CEO and co-founder of Bricklane.com, said: “The number of new buy-to-let mortgages has fallen off a cliff over the last few years, with the total down 50% since 2016. Based on the stagnant numbers, we shouldn’t expect that trend to change in the near future.
“The rental market has become increasingly difficult for new and existing landlords to navigate. In addition to a raft of tax penalties, the recent introduction of the Tenant Fees Act and the proposed scrapping of ‘no fault’ evictions show that the market is moving in a pro-tenant direction.
“Landlords will soon be expected to provide a higher standard of service and, faced with diminishing profits and an increasing workload in the buy-to-let market, we expect to see more and more individuals revaluating their portfolios, with many then looking at alternative routes to invest in this asset class.”