The number of brokers expecting more buy-to-let business over the next 12 months is at its highest level since 2014, according to a survey by Paragon Bank.
In a February/March survey of 195 intermediaries, half said they were anticipating higher levels of buy-to-let mortgage business over the coming year, up from 41 per cent in Q4 2020.
The number of brokers who already saw strong demand for buy-to-let mortgages also rose, to 47 per cent in the first quarter of this year, up from 44 per cent in Q4 2020.
Meanwhile, the number of intermediaries who reported weak buy-to-let mortgage demand was at its lowest since before the start of the pandemic, at 12 per cent.
Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon Bank, said: “It’s fantastic to see that such high levels of optimism have been recorded following the challenges of the past year or so and that this is being driven by strong levels of demand.
“The extension of the stamp duty holiday is certainly a driver of that, but it is underpinned by longer-term demand for rental property.”
Carl Shave, director at Just Mortgage Brokers, commented: “With 2020 being a subdued year for buy-to-let investment due to the economic climate from the pandemic, it is pleasing to see the optimism from brokers and the positive reports of an uptake in demand. Indeed this is being reflected in the increase in enquiries for our advisers.
"The stamp duty holiday extension will at present add a little fuel to the fire as investors look to take advantage of the potential savings this can provide. It will therefore be interesting to see what impact this has on the market when it expires and the resulting longer term outlook.”
Paragon's findings come after analysis by Hamptons found the number of properties sold by landlords last year slowed to a seven-year low, despite the first annual rise in profits on sales in more than five years.
Earlier research from Foundation Home Loans before the stamp duty holiday was extended also suggested the end of the tax break would not prevent landlords from adding to their portfolios.
Hiten Ganatra, managing director at Visionary Finance, said his firm was seeing an increased appetite from professional landlords looking to grow their portfolio, with returns being realised from BTL investments "far superior than to leave money in the banks".
Ganatra said: "Landlords are happy to generate yields of 5 to 7 per cent, which invariably gives them an even great return on investment than holding cash.
"We are also seeing more and more landlords moving into the HMO [houses in multiple occupation] space which is helping to enhance yields to 8 per cent-plus."
On the supply side, meanwhile, data from Moneyfacts has shown that product availability in the buy-to-let market continued to improve for a fifth consecutive month in March.
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