The Money Centre reveals results

Both its survey findings and first quarter results point to a buoyant buy-to-let market, which is set to increase in size from the six per cent of the total mortgage market it currently holds.

At the end of the first financial quarter of 2006, The Money Centre processed over £430 million worth of buy-to-let mortgages, an increase of £200 million on the first quarter last year. Rising property prices and an increase in landlord activity has boosted the company’s processing figures, and is a market trend that has been identified in their recent survey results.

The Money Centre’s survey results have shown that over half of all active buy-to-let landlords plan to buy at least one new property-to-let before the end of the summer, while eight per cent of all respondents plan to expand their portfolio to double figures within the next six months.

In general, a buy-to-let investor is aged between 35-54 years, likely to be earning more than £60,000 a year, and on average will have one or two properties in their portfolios. As well as investing in mortgages, landlords also invest in personal pensions, ISAs and stocks and shares.

The survey results show that the most critical factor when choosing a buy-to-let broker is their experience levels. Research found that 47 per cent of those questioned were influenced by the experience of the staff and this factor dictated their choice of broker. Investors are also keen to use a broker who can keep them updated on competitive mortgage deals and promotions, but also one who can provide market guidance on other financial services products, such as investments, loans, credit cards, legislation, insurance and interest rates too. Interestingly, a third of all landlords want to be kept informed about withdrawn products.

Mark Alexander, managing director of The Money Centre, commented: “This annual piece of research is extremely valuable in highlighting not only what our clients think about the service they receive from The Money Centre, but in telling us what information we should be providing to landlords and potential investors on a regular basis. We predicted at the beginning of the year that buy-to-let would continue to grow in 2006, and with rental demand reaching a four-year high recently and half of those questioned in the survey planning to buy at least one new property in the next six months, this was an accurate prediction.

"It is important we capitalise on this and provide the best possible service to landlords and potential investors. This research has shown the importance of effective communication with landlords, as well as targeting the customer in the way they wish to be contacted. We strive to tailor our services to the individual requirements of our clients, providing them with the information they want, in the format they prefer. Ultimately, one of the most important findings for us was that over half of our clients are entirely happy with our service.”