Successive Conservative governments’ stated aim to kick accidental and amateur landlords out of the sector has been working almost too well, latest market data reveals.

Research by one of the UK’s best-known letting agencies has revealed the extent to which the government’s efforts to hammer the buy-to-let market has impacted landlords and stock levels.

Hamptons International says its research shows the sector has lost 220,000 landlords since 2012 and 156,000 private rental properties since 2017 as mortgage tax relief has been slowly reduced, the Stamp Duty surcharge introduced and both HMO and selective licensing has become more widespread.

“These and other tax changes were designed to eat into landlords’ profits, making it less likely that they would compete with first-time buyers for smaller properties,” says Aneisha Beveridge, Head of Research at Hamptons International.

The agency warns this is likely to accelerate as a promised tightening of the capital gains tax rules for landlords who have lived in their buy-to-let property at some point, which takes effect this month, becomes a reality.

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Grappling for some positive news from its own data, Hamptons International says these recent government policies are forcing private landlords to ‘professionalise’ and portfolio sizes to swell to a ten-year high.

The percentage of landlords with more than one property has increased from 15% in 2011 to 30% today, lead by landlords in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Demand to rise

But Beveridge says that once the Coronavirus lockdown ends, demand for rented property will rise just as, ironically, the government’s effort to reduce stock bears fruit.

“Renting offers more flexibility than buying a home, so as uncertainty rises, so too does the demand for rental homes,” she says.


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