Don’t blame buy-to-let for housing crisis

David Whittaker and Ying Tan, managing directors of Mortgages for Business and The Buy to Let business respectively, said buy-to-let is plugging a gap in the market, not contributing to the UK’s lack of housing supply.

Currently annual housing construction totals 134,460 per year compared to population growth in excess of 400,000.

Whittaker said: “Buy-to-let still represents no greater percentage of lending now than pre-credit crunch so there’s no basis to that.

“Buy-to-let was more impacted by the credit crunch than mainstream lending - all it’s been doing is going back to the status quo.

He added: “Buy-to-let is often made the scapegoat of the UK’s housing supply crisis. Buy-to-let is covering the failure of the market.

“You’ve got a government that doesn’t wish to have a social housing policy because it can’t afford to.”

And Tan agreed. He said: “Landlords are portrayed as these people who are out to do one over the consumer and that is far from the truth.

“They should be applauded for the hard-working graft they put in during the credit crunch to come out the other side relatively unscathed.”

At the end of 2013 buy-to-let represented 11.7% of the market.

Tan predicted lending levels to reach £25bn for the whole of 2014 compared to £200bn overall, while he anticipated buy-to-let to account for 13 to 15% of the market.

He added: “The buy-to-let market is increasing but the overall mortgage market is increasing as well.

“It’s a gradual sustainable increase in comparison to a big surge.

“Not everyone wants to own a property. There’s a huge demand for rental property and it’s not just because they can’t afford to buy.”

He was also pleased that more products are now available, as he added: “I’m sure there’ll be more lenders coming on board. Anyone who says that’s bad for the market I can’t agree with.

“It’s been busy. We’ve had a bit of a lull over the summer. October seems to be one of the busiest months of the year as well.”