The term ‘buy to let’ generally refers to either the practise of buying a property to be let for profit, or to the type of mortgages used to purchase a property for such letting. Many countries, both in the western world and in the developing nations, have seen a surge in the growth of the buy to let property market in the last 2 decades and this has fuelled a growth in amateur landlords and the but to let mortgage providers who are keen to encourage and profit from them in turn. In addition, this growth has generated a lot of commerce in other related sectors such as buy to let insurance.
Buy to let mortgages have been available in the UK since the mid nineties and they are specifically designed for investors to borrow money to purchase property in the private rental sector. The amount that a prospective but to let investor can borrow is generally determined by the rental valuation of the property. The annual income for a rented property has to cover a certain percentage of the mortgage repayments, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) states that landlords should seek to be able to obtain gross rent returns equivalent to between 130 per cent and 150 per cent of the rental property’s mortgage repayments, this takes into account the surplus rent to cover costs of property maintenance and slack periods when the property may be vacant of tenants.
But To Let Mortgages
Some buy to let mortgage lenders will lend you a maximum sum based on a multiple of your salary (usually a multiple of three) plus a percentage of the forecast rental income on the property. So if your annual salary is say 30,000 Franks and the forecast rental income is 10,000 Franks they will lend you 95,000 Franks. Other mortgages, in addition to factoring in your salary, will include any existing loan commitments you have, and then apply what is known as the ‘deduction rule’. This rule relates to the annual mortgage payments worked out at a pre-set level of interest.
Buy to let mortgage interest rates are generally fairly close to residential mortgage rates but will generally be slightly higher and typically charge higher fees. This is due to the fact that buy to let loans are considered by the financial sector to represent a greater risk than residential owner-occupier mortgages, and they generally are.
The Situation in the UK
The buy to let market literally ‘exploded’ in the UK around the beginning of the millennium with rising property prices and the increasing availability of buy to let funding fueling a surge in would-be investors trying to cash in on the trend of the market. One reason for their popularity is the tax advantages that are available to UK buy to let investors. Rental income is treated just like a salary by the Inland Revenue, and is therefore often taxed at 22% or even 40%. However, landlords are allowed to deduct costs from the taxable portion of their rental income, and these costs can include the interest of the buy to let mortgage repayments as well as maintenance costs on the property. These tax incentives made the buy to let market very attractive for both professional investors and amateurs looking to make the most out of their savings.
Would Be Investors
The market peaked around 2007 and now the market is saturated in many areas across the country with too many properties available to tenants. While buy to let is generally not a good idea for people who do not possess some extra budget there are a lot of remortgage deals which will fund a deposit for a home. If you are worried about losing money during void periods many companies will provide insurance which can deliver as much as six months mortgage payments in the event of a property remaining unoccupied.
You may still be lucky, and find a hotspot but you need to do your homework and the figures correctly. Buy to let trends differ from town to town and literally from street to street. Good advice for a potential investors is to visit the local letting agents who should be able to tell you who is renting what at the moment so you can define your target audience. It could be students, young professionals or families, for example. Look for areas that do have a shortage of properties and for indicators that people will move there, such as new business developments.
Buy to let mortgage deals are still rife and the rates are almost as competitive as with conventional deals. The mantra with your buy-to-let must be ‘don’t expect to get rich quickly’. You need to look long-term: an absolute minimum of five years – but probably nearer to ten years.