Lenders ‘ready for BTL surge’ before stamp duty hike

Lenders ‘ready for BTL surge’ before stamp duty hike

Several lenders have stated they are prepared for any uptick in buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage applications that may result from the 3 per cent tax on stamp duty due to come into force from 1 April.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the measures during his Autumn Statement in November in order to cool the market and tackle the issue of second homes bought by those who live overseas.

Emily Rombeau, an analyst at Moody’s, said that in her opinion, the stamp duty surcharge would result in a slight increase in house purchase activity in the first quarter.

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She said: “In particular, professional landlords and second home buyers will look to complete their transaction by April, given the extra stamp duty.”

Financial Adviser contacted a range of other lenders to find out what, if any, deadlines they were putting on applications.

Roland McCormack, mortgage distribution director at TSB Mortgages, agreed there may be a flurry of applications towards the end of March, but said the bank was well placed to manage this.

He added: “Compared to other banks, our customers receive decisions in days, not weeks, and our intermediary service answers calls to brokers in seconds, not minutes. We’d simply encourage homeowners to apply for their TSB mortgage when they feel ready to.”

Chris Maggs, Accord’s BTL commercial manager, also said they did not anticipate setting a deadline for landlords who wished to make a BTL application before 1 April.

He added: “We don’t envisage there will be any issues with our case turnover times, and we have contingency plans to cope with surges in applications.

“As with all applications working to a specific deadline, it is important that the applicant and broker allow sufficient time for the lender to receive an offer and complete on a case.”

BTL specialist Fleet Mortgages’ chief executive Bob Young said that lenders were able to offer in a matter of weeks, so it is the time taken by the conveyancer to work through cases that is going to determine completion time.

He added: “The important point here for advisers is to ensure their client is with the right conveyancer – for instance, in an area such as limited company buy-to-let, there will be many conveyancing firms which might be able to take the work on, but a much smaller number which have the necessary skills, expertise and set-up to deal with a more complex case like this.”

Adviser view

David Whittaker, managing director of national firm Mortgages for Business, stated that its lending brand, Keystone Buy-to-Let Mortgages, had issued a deadline of 29 January for purchase applications to stand a chance of completing by 31 March.