A report from Shawbrook Bank about the buy-to-let mortgage market has analysed in some depth the impact of the 3 percent surcharge on the purchases of second homes, mortgage interest tax relief changes, the introduction of the PRA regulations and tighter underwriting criteria for professional landlords.
The report highlighted the recent decline in buy-to-let purchase transactions but recognised the robust remortgaging market due to current low interest rates. It predicts a further slow down of the market over the next few years which will impact the amount of buy-to-let mortgage business being written by intermediaries.
Despite a sobering outlook for the immediate future, there are still plenty of opportunities for brokers in the buy-to-let market and some lenders are trying to provide more innovative financial solutions.
There was a time when there was a good selection of lenders offering light refurbishment schemes which would enable landlords to carry out necessary works on their properties such as boiler replacements, new kitchens,bathrooms and carpets etc.
However, in recent years most lenders have withdrawn their refurbishment products and until last month TBMC has only had Shawbrook Bank and Saffron Building Society on its panel for this type of offering. This has limited the options for landlords looking to purchase at auction, for example, or purchasing under valuation or choosing to refurbish to maximise the rental yield of their property.
Currently many landlords undertaking this type of investment will secure bridging finance then try to line up a suitable buy-to-let mortgage as an exit route. However, they will often have to wait until the work is completed before lenders will carry out a valuation and offer terms.
Precise Mortgages recently launched a new refurbishment buy-to-let scheme through TBMC, which offers the flexibility of bridging finance up to 75 per cent loan-to-value with the security of a long term buy-to-let mortgage up to 80 per cent loan-to-value once the property has been refurbished.
The guarantee of a competitively priced mortgage as an exit route should be an attractive proposition to landlords who can now approach refurbishment opportunities more confidently and we have already received considerable interest in this new scheme.
With the challenges in the buy-to-let market over the last couple of years, many brokers have turned to bridging finance as a way to supplement their incomes and the sector has been booming. According to the Association of Short Term Lenders annual bridging completions are around 27 per cent higher in 2018 so far compared with last year, which underscores the opportunity here.
The reputation that bridging has had of being punitively expensive seem to be diminishing and if used intelligently it can be an excellent resource for buy-to-let investors, enabling them to make the most of opportunities and bargains in the rental property market.
At TBMC, we have expanded our bridging panel to offer a broad range of options and competitive deals for brokers and their landlord clients. Bridging can provide a healthy additional income stream and is likely to generate follow on business for arranging an exit mortgage from the bridge.
At TBMC, we also receive a good number of enquiries about semi-commercial properties which can offer an excellent investment opportunity and avoid the higher stamp duty applied to second homes. For example, a single freehold that includes a commercial property, such as a shop with living accommodation above it, is not subject to the 3 per cent levy increase imposed in 2016.
TBMC has a few lenders on its buy-to-let panel who have an appetite for semi-commercial finance such as Interbay and Shawbrook, and an extensive list of lenders via our TBMC Commercial proposition, so brokers can welcome these cases as they can be quite straightforward to place.
In conclusion, despite the contraction of the buy-to-let mortgage market, there is still plenty of business to be written and with the right skills and knowledge of product providers, brokers can look forward to profitable endeavours within the investment property sector.