Buy To Let: where next? Nick Doyle, Operations Director of Aitchisons, gives his thoughts...

What else will George Osborne chuck at landlords?

What else will George Osborne chuck at landlords? - Credit: AP

Short of attacking them with flame-throwers, or impaling them on stakes, it’s hard to know what else the Bank and government can throw at landlords.

My thanks to Matthew Lynn from the Daily Telegraph for the headline which nicely sums up the onslaught, in particular from George Osborne, towards landlords who are having a tough time of late. A new stamp duty surcharge (a hefty 3%) came into force on April 1st which in turn led to a stampede of transactions before the deadline pushing house prices to a fresh record in the process. Our office in St Albans had first hand experience of the deluge of completions as 16 purchasers were given the keys to their new apartments at a new development at Keystone House on the last day of March.

Further rules are coming into place for landlords reducing their tax relief and imposing more stringent measures on securing buy-to-let mortgages. The government appears hell bent in trying to create a level playing field allowing first time buyers and landlords to buy properties but the policy may be flawed; higher rents seem an inevitable consequence of penalising landlords which in turn will make it harder for first time buyers to save up deposits. A vicious circle.

The much maligned landlords are made of stern stuff and still see buy-to-let as a long term investment - especially with the capital growth forecasts in St Albans and few void periods against derisory savings rates and the inconsistent stock market performances. Some prospective new investors have decided against entering the market and to take stock; it will be interesting to see how these measures will affect this area of the market short term.