Lenders have been increasing the number of buy-to-let products on offer in a sign they are trying to attract more landlords to the market.
According to latest Moneyfacts data, the number of options available to potential landlords is at its highest since the start of the financial crisis in October 2007.
The number of products currently available stands at 2,396 — about 1,000 fewer than in October 2007 but almost 25 per cent more than in June last year.
In the past month alone, the number of available products has risen by 143.
Darren Cook, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said the market had experienced a number of regulatory changes in recent years but despite this, product competition within this specialised mortgage area was continuing to grow.
The regulatory changes include the introduction of a 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge on second homes in April 2016, which was closely followed by cuts to mortgage interest tax relief.
Buy-to-let borrowers are also now subject to more stringent affordability testing under the Prudential Regulation Authority's tightened underwriting rules.
Mr Cook added: "An increase in availability to 2,396 products over the past 12 months indicates that providers are keen to offer potential investors plenty of choice within the sector."
Kevin Dunn, director at Furnley House, agreed the trend meant lenders were trying to attract borrowers, but he suggested this was due to the lack of mortgages completing in the buy-to-let sector.
Stats from UK Finance showed the number of new buy-to-let purchases dropped by 9.1 per cent year-on-year in March and the trade body put this down to the regulatory and tax changes.
Mr Dunn said: "The increase in products available could be due to the lack of mortgages completing in this area, so lenders are being more creative and trying to attract clients into this market.
"We generally do not have any problems placing buy-to-let mortgages at present.
"This increase in products and the fact some landlords are selling their portfolios, should mean new entrants into the market should find it easier to become landlords."
According to research from Arla Propertymark, the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties rose by 25 per cent in May in a sign landlords were looking to exit the market.
But John Goodall, chief executive of specialist lender Landbay, said the buy-to-let doom was ‘overdone’, noting there had always been a churn in the market and citing other UK Finance stats which showed the market had grown by 2.7 per cent in the past year.
Further findings from Moneyfacts’ data show that average buy-to-let rates have risen over the past 12 months, with the average two-year fixed rate increasing by 0.17 per cent, from 2.88 per cent in June 2018 to 3.05 per cent this month.
Similarly, the average five-year fixed now stands at 3.54 per cent — 0.11 per cent up compared with the same month last year.
Mr Cook said this increase contrasted with the downward trajectory of their residential mortgage counterpart, were product competition has resulted in falling rates.