Buy-to-let can take the housing strain

GUY GARRARD, HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, TIUTA

The other day I was looking through some Council of Mortgage Lenders figures on buy-to-let and the resultant media coverage.

Now it might be the painkillers I’m taking for my bad back but the image of Irish comedian Frank Carson came to mind, along with his catchphrase “It’s the way I tell ’em”.

According to Google 219 articles were circulated on the day the figures were released. Of the four headlines highlighted two alluded to buy-to-let lending levels rising and two to how the market has slumped. Confused? Me too.

So let’s dissect the statistics and focus on the positives. The figures show that buy-to-let lending picked up towards the end of last year, albeit from a low base.

New buy-to-let lending increased for the second consecutive quarter in Q4 2009, with 25,800 new loans advanced. This was up from 23,700 in Q3.

Between October and December gross advances totalled £2.4bn, an increase of 3300m compared with the previous three months.

The buy-to-let mortgage market has endured torrid times recently but while funding issues remain there are signs of life.

Lenders will monitor the sector carefully as a rising number of non-conforming potential borrowers struggle to find deals.

I have written about this before but the fact is that these hopefuls are not going away. They have to live somewhere.

So while buy-to-let may not be the huge arena it once was it is a relatively healthy marketplace, despite what you might read.