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Demand for buy to let lending has dropped for the first time in two years, according to the latest Bank of England lending survey.
Specialist landlord lenders told the Bank that they expect the figures to be a blip and the market will quickly recover from the slight fall.
One reason for the slide could be the end of the stamp duty holiday for first time buyers, with purchasers snapping up homes typically targeted by investors.
Overall, the Bank’s credit conditions survey reported most mortgage lenders expect little change in lending levels or interest rates over the next three months.
Meanwhile, around a fifth of landlords have told a survey by landlord lender Paragon Mortgages that they intend to buy more property to rent in the next three months.
A third (33%) thought buy to let funding was reasonably available, while half (51%) claimed finding a mortgage was difficult to impossible.
“This very much reflects the current market position, we are starting to see more buy-to-let products and the emergence of more small to mid-scale lenders, but the market still has some way to go before we return to more ‘normal’ conditions,” said Paragon chief executive Nigel Terrington
The sentiment survey was the latest in a quarterly report tracking trends in the buy to let sector.
Landlords expressed optimism about their property businesses, confirming vacancies were low and average gross yields of 6.2%.
Opinions on tenant demand were little changed from the last quarter of 2011, with 44% of landlords reckoning demand was growing or booming and 53% expecting demand to increase over the next year.
Voids stayed low in line with strong demand, dropping from an average 2.9 weeks to 2.6 weeks, although different landlords with smaller portfolios seeing less of a change.
“The findings are interesting and show that it has been a positive start to 2012. Landlords are optimistic about the year ahead and are planning to invest in their portfolios,” said Terrington.
“Despite some reports suggesting tenant demand may be falling, landlords are still experiencing decreasing void periods, so the appetite for quality, private rented housing is still very much there.”
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