After what has been called the worst Budget build-up in history, Philip Hammond in fact delivered a somewhat impressive package, for the housing market at least.
His decision to cut stamp duty for first-time buyers of properties worth up to £300,000 (and scrap the duty on the first £300,000 of properties worth up to £500,000) will certainly be music to the ears of many would-be buyers. Furthermore, his promise to pump £44bn into the housing market is bound to delight developers.
While this was by no means a Budget to solve all the ills of the market, it was at least one that took some decisive action.
Buy-to-let was, thankfully, notably absent from the statement, and interestingly, in the run-up to the chancellor’s speech, I noticed that calls for a reversal of the income tax relief changes seemed to have faded. Now, I’m well aware that this is largely because most of us recognise that’s unlikely to happen and therefore calling for it is a futile endeavour. But I think it’s also, in some small part, because as an industry we have accepted the changes and instead of kicking up a fuss about them we are simply getting on with the situation and, indeed, making the best of it.
We should applaud ourselves for adapting to the increasing professionalisation of buy-to-let
The news that The Mortgage Works is re-entering the limited company buy-to-let market is evidence of this. The well-respected lender hasn’t offered products in this arena for six years and its return demonstrates a commitment to help landlords succeed in these turbulent times. It’s a pivotal moment for the buy-to-let sector given TMW’s standing in the market.
We are the only specialist buy-to-let brokerage chosen to pilot the products and I am sure they will prove a success with landlords. And, of course, TMW’s return will no doubt ignite greater competition in the sector, which of course is a good thing for limited company landlords. The product offering in this space can get only better from here.
This is what the buy-to-let market is good at. We may get hit — repeatedly — but, rather than continue to highlight the challenges and problems, we rise to them and find a way through. Lenders and brokers are clearly committed to helping the buy-to-let sector to prosper.
It’s certainly time to face facts that landlords aren’t the primary reason why first-timers are struggling to get on the property ladder. Equally, as an industry, we should applaud ourselves for adapting to the increasing professionalisation of buy-to-let.
Ying Tan is managing director of Buy to Let Club