Landlords have been given somewhat of a grilling in the media of late. Once seen as a vital cog in the property industry machine, landlords are increasingly being painted as the bad guy that is causing over-inflated property prices and stopping ordinary hardworking British workers from buying their own property.
The government has been vocal in its desire to ‘dampen’ the buy-to-let market by introducing a three per cent stamp duty hike and changes to tax relief. Many believe that supressing the buy-to-let market will free up more property for private buyers, but research now suggests that landlords and private buyers are not competing for property and landlords are being unfairly punished.
The research, carried out by the Sunday Times and a major estate agency, suggests that just one in three properties sold to investors last year received any sort of offer from a private buyer intending to use the property as their main residence. This was further supported by separate research from Hometrack which suggested that 80 per cent of property sales are still being made by private owner-occupiers.
Danny Luke, Managing Director at Quick Move Now – the UK’s largest independent home buyer, commented: “What this ongoing vilification of landlords fails to take into account is the vital role they play in the provision of housing in the UK, both in terms of private rental and providing housing for use by local authorities.
“Measures like stamp duty hikes, tax relief changes and increasingly more strict legislation are being introduced in an attempt to mute the buy-to-let market, but punishing property investors is unlikely to reignite the property market in the way it is hoped. In fact, it may very well have the opposite effect. The real issue with the property market is scarcity of property, both to buy and to rent; if we continue to unfairly punish investors and landlords, my fear is that they will be pushed out of the market and we will be left with a greater shortage of rental property to further compound our current housing crisis.
“For many people, owning a property is either not a realistic option or not something that they aspire to, and for that significant portion of the population we need to have a professional, well-run, well-supported and vibrant rental property market. If we fail to look after our landlords, we may quickly find that many of them bow out of the industry, leaving us with an even bigger shortage of rental properties,
“We have witnessed a huge change in attitude towards property investors in recent years. Once they were seen as inspirational and aspirations – rightly or wrongly, everyone wanted to get involved and have a piece of the pie, with television programmes such as Property Ladder and Homes Under The Hammer growing in popularity – but now they’ve been vilified as blighting the UK property market and robbing potential homeowners of their chance to get a foot on the property ladder. The research we’ve discussed clearly shows that this is not the case. Landlords provide much needed housing and we should be very cautious of pushing them out of the market.”