One in three look to BTL as long term investment

This longer term view is reinforced by more than a quarter (27%) of respondents planning to keep their portfolio beyond retirement, with almost one in five (18%) holding on to it until retirement.

There is also a high level of commitment to the portfolio and developing it over several years.

Many are aiming to increase the number of properties held by one to two per year (18%) and a small group aim to increase the number by more than five per year (7%).

Just one in ten (12%) buy-to-let landlords were over 55.

Other findings in the Precise Mortgage Voice report identified several social factors which have contributed to the rapid growth in the number of ‘opportunity landlords’.

Three in ten (28%) people inherited a property and chose to let it out, a fifth (21%) moved in with a partner who already owned a home, while one in seven (14%) let out a property they were unable to sell.

Alan Cleary, managing director of Precise Mortgages, said: “The rental sector appears to be thriving and presents buy-to-let landlords, whatever their genesis, significant opportunity.”

While homeowning remains an ambition for many people (62% of those who aspire to own a home want to buy within the next five years rising to 57% of those under 25) a proportion see renting as a viable alternative. Two in five (18%) people feel that they can budget better as a renter, one in ten (13%) feel they can live in a better area as a renter and one in ten (10%) can rent a larger property than they believe they would be able to buy.

Cleary added: “As a nation we are renting for longer and until much later in life, a demographic and social shift that breaks away from past realities.

“This is for a variety of reasons, not least that we tend to marry later or migrate across country for jobs and family life.

“This change calls in to question the availability and quality of rental stock and shines a spotlight on landlords. The research demonstrates that contrary to popular belief – that buy to let landlords are mere ‘speculators’ - many landlords are in it for the long term.

“In order to respond to the changes – to support buy to let landlords and bring quality rental stock to market - the mortgage industry must work to develop a truly modern suite of products.

“Only then can we meet the need of emerging landlords. This is something that Precise Mortgages has long championed and our robust underwriting allows us to say yes where others have said no, meeting the needs of property investors to ensure their portfolios and businesses can continue to grow. This is important not only to the individual but to the national economy.”