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Buy-to-let has become an increasingly popular option in recent years as people seek to escape record low savings rates and start generating real returns, yet it doesn't mean it's easy to take the plunge – stricter affordability rules mean it's more important than ever to find the right first-time landlord mortgage deal, but with over 1,000 to choose from, it hopefully shouldn't be too tricky.
Our data shows that there are currently 1,047 mortgages available to first-time landlords, up from 956 a year ago and a significant jump from the 650 on the market in April 2015, so those taking the first steps in buy-to-let (BTL) are now better served than they have been in years.
This is despite the fact that the proportion of mortgages available to first-time landlords has fallen – the overall number of buy-to-let mortgages has risen rapidly in recent years, with there now being 1,530 available, meaning first-time landlord products account for just 68% of the market. This is a drop of 5% from this time last year and a notable reduction from 81% in April 2015, as tighter lending criteria take hold.
|Number of First-Time Landlord Products||650||956||1,047|
|Overall Percentage of the BTL Market||81%||73%||68%|
|Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk||Compiled 11/04/2017|
Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said that new landlords have largely missed out on the BTL boom, as they now have a smaller percentage of the market to choose from.
"This can be explained in part by the uncertainty that exists in the market at present, which has made some providers slightly more risk-averse," she said. "By their very nature, first-time landlords lack experience in managing rental properties, and this is considered more of a risk now than perhaps it once was."
Much of this could be due to tougher affordability rules, which have reduced the amount landlords can potentially borrow, which may be disproportionately affecting first-timers. "The extra regulation means borrowers will face added checks and questions about their finances," explained Charlotte, "so any would-be landlords will need to do their homework and prepare in advance to ensure they can pass with flying colours and get the BTL mortgage they want."
After all, there are still plenty of first-time landlord mortgage deals available to choose from, despite the proportion available for this sector of the market appearing to decline – but looks can be deceiving. Indeed, it may be the case that only 68% of the BTL mortgage market is now open to first-time landlords, but when that equates to over 1,000 mortgages, there's not a whole lot to worry about!
And, "with savings rates remaining in dire straits, BTL still looks like a good option," concluded Charlotte. "However, anyone considering it should seek the advice of an independent financial adviser to see if this riskier option is the right choice for them."
There are plenty of first-time landlord mortgages to choose from, so start seeing what's out there by checking out our Best Buys. Or, if you're a more experienced landlord, take a look at the best buy-to-let mortgage rates available across the market.
If you're thinking of taking the first step into buy-to-let, you'll need to find out more about it. Make sure to seek professional advice before you make a final decision, but you can start doing your own research by reading our guide on buy-to-let mortgages.
Make sure you know the range of tax implications of buy-to-let and the resulting income, as this will have a huge impact on the viability of renting out your chosen property.
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