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Landlords reshape portfolios as tax changes start to bite

  • Landlords who own between 6 and 20 properties increase their share of the market
  • Drop in the number of landlords who own between 3 and 5 properties
  • Important role for specialist lenders as landlords reshape their portfolios

Landlords with between 6 and 20 properties in their portfolio have increased from 35% to 39% of those surveyed according to Paragon’s latest PRS Trends research, based on interviews with 203 experienced landlords in Q1 2018.

This follows a drop in the proportion of landlords in the 3 to 5 property bracket at the end of 2017, down from 26% to 24%, and indicates the potential for a growing polarisation between small scale landlords and those with more substantial portfolios.

Landlords at the top end have also been resizing, with the latest survey recording a fall in landlords with over 50 properties, down from 6% to 4%, and an overall reduction in the average portfolio size from 13.1 to 11.6 properties.

Portfolio resizing appears to be one of a variety of tactics being adopted by landlords to adapt to regulatory and fiscal changes in the buy-to-let sector, with reductions in portfolio gearing and rent increases also playing an important role.

Average portfolio gearing which measures the loan to value ratio of a property portfolio, reduced from 35% to 32% compared with three months ago, falling from a peak of 43% in 2012 to hit its lowest level since Paragon’s PRS Trends survey began in 2001.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter (24%) of landlords reported that they had increased rent in the last three months. They also said they were spending an increased proportion of their rental income on mortgage costs, up to 30% of income from 26% at the end of 2017.

John Heron, Managing Director of Mortgages at Paragon said:

Our latest survey demonstrates how tax and regulatory changes are beginning to drive changes in landlord behaviour, with evidence of polarisation between small landlords and those with more substantial portfolios beginning to emerge.

Our own experience highlights that landlords with larger portfolios need access to products that cater for landlords with more complex requirements and broader underwriting expertise, increasing the role for specialist lenders in the buy-to-let market

View the full PRS Trends Q1 2018 report.

18 April 2018

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551