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Buy-to-let Watch: Rooting for the underdog

Regardless of the industry or the event, there is something within us all that makes us root for the underdog and celebrate when they achieve success.

For football fans, the recent Champions League quarter final between Roma and Barcelona is a case in point. Barça, easily one of the best clubs in the world, had won the first leg 4:1, meaning by the time the second leg rolled round it was pretty much accepted as a given that the Spanish giants were heading for a place in the semi-finals.

However, against all odds, Roma staged a sensational comeback, winning the game 3-0 and taking the semi-finals spot thanks to their away goal in the first leg. It was amazing stuff and football fans the world over were thrilled for the Italian side.

As an industry, the buy-to-let sector could certainly be considered the underdog at present, following a few turbulent years for everyone operating in it. The media would have you think the writing is on the wall for landlords amid a raft of changes since 2015 and there are also some commentators who think buy-to-let is all but dead. Our market is nothing if not resilient. And, to everyone’s surprise, it seems to be making a spectacular comeback.

Indeed, according to London estate agency Ludlow Thompson the number of buy-to-let investors in the UK hit 2.5 million in the last tax year, up 5 per cent in 12 months.

The agency’s research found the number of landlords in the UK has increased by 27 per cent since 2012 and the average number of properties owned by UK landlords has risen for the fifth year in a row.

Despite the hurdles landlords have had to jump over and the challenges lenders have faced, the buy-to-let market is actually looking quite healthy at present. Indeed, latest figures from BM Solutions show landlords have seen returns rise in all regions except London.

Meanwhile, lenders are further proving that there is plenty of life in buy-to-let by making crucial criteria changes. The Mortgage Works is the latest lender to remove its age limit for experienced landlords allowing landlords who have let a property for the past six months to apply for a 65 per cent LTV mortgage, regardless of their age.

Yes, the buy-to-let sector is bouncing back against all odds – just like Roma at the Stadio Olimpico just a few weeks back. (Although, as a staunch Liverpool supporter, you’ll understand why I hope that’s the end of Roma’s success now!)

Buy-to-let rates April 2018

Rate MAX LTV % Description Arrangement Fee Rent Cover ERC
1.44% 60%

Leeds Building Society

2 year fixed

£500k max. loan


Free valuation

140% @ 5.5%

3% in Yr 1

2% in Yr 2

1.61% 60%


2 year fixed

£2m max. loan

£995 135% @ 5.5%

2% in Yr 1

1% in Yr 2

1.73% 70%

Virgin Money

2 year fixed

£1m max. loan


£750 cash back

145% @ 5.5%

1.5% in Yr 1

1.5% in Yr 2

2.19% 60%


5 year fixed

£350k max. loan


£500 cash back

145% @ 5.5%

5% in Yr 1

4% in Yr 2

3% in Yr 3

2% in Yr 4

1% in Yr 5

2.55% 75%


5 year fixed

£375k max. loan



145% @ 5.5%

5% in Yr 1

5% in Yr 2

3% in Yr 3

3% in Yr 4

1% in Yr 5

Ying Tan is managing director of Buy to Let Club



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Sainsbury’s Bank has added Intrinsic to its broker panel as it aims for further UK growth. The network joins existing panel members, Openwork, L&G partners, L&C Mortgages, Mortgage Advice Bureau, Stonebridge Group, Alexander Hall, Springtide, First Mortgage Direct and SPF. The lender is hoping that by expanding its range of broker partnerships it will extend […]


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  • john barnes 10th May 2018 at 9:22 am

    Just goes to show they were making too much money before…I think people who actually have to buy for somewhere to live are the underdogs sheesh