The stance against BTL means there is a danger of throwing out not just the baby but the entire house with the bathwater
The rumour mill around the buy-to-let market is never-ending. The latest headlines surround apparent visits from Prudential Regulation Authority supervisors to three major banks that offer buy-to-let loans.
The suggestion appears to be that this is part of the ongoing clampdown on buy-to-let loan activity, with “sources” at the institutions taking it as pressure being exerted by the regulator to encourage them into curbing such work.
Clearly, it is difficult to know the exact motive of these visits but I would be very surprised to learn the supervisors were telling lenders to stop lending, especially when this type of censure seems to be well outside their current remit.
But we are in danger of developing an ever-decreasing circle when it comes to buy-to-let lending. This seems counter-intuitive, given the need for ongoing access to funds and the pivotal role the private rental sector plays in the UK housing market. We are in danger of throwing out not just the baby with the bathwater but the bath, bathroom and entire house as well.
The argument that the buy-to-let market is responsible for all the housing market’s woes needs to be consigned to history. We also need to focus on the positives the PRA is able to deliver in a marketplace that is highly complex but also still desperately short of supply. Following a successful year, we are looking forward to the challenges of 2017.
Bob Young is chief executive of Fleet Mortgages