Demand from young renters could lead to growth in buy-to-let sector

Economic guru David Miles has predicted that there is still scope for the buy-to-let market to expand due to a surge in demand from young consumers looking to rent.

He made the comments last week at property information company Land Data’s Great Housing Market Debate, hosted by Wriglesworth Consultancy.

It featured key industry commentators, including Monetary Policy Committee members Kate Barker and Miles, who is also executive director of the Financial Services Authority and chief economist at Morgan Stanley.

The panel felt that the need to save larger deposits following the recent change in lending criteria and the end of 100% LTV mortgages will result in individuals waiting until their late 30s and early 40s before buying a home.

Miles says: “Reduced LTVs will bring about a rise in the average age of first-time buyers as we return to the culture of saving deposits. This will probably mean that the private rental sector will need to expand through private buy-to-let landlords or professional investors.”

While the panellists agreed that Home Information Packs had been poorly implemented they felt the packs should not be scrapped but improved.

Jan Boothroyd, chief executive officer of Land Data, says the point of HIP legislation was to speed up the transaction process which is fine in a fast-moving market, but not so useful in a slow one where data can soon become out of date.

She adds: “Since HIPs were introduced local authority searches in particular have often failed to deliver.”

But she says the scrutiny on searches brought about by HIPs has helped focus the minds of local authorities and the benefits of this can now be reaped.

She adds: “Pricing has reduced and searches via the National Land and Property Information Service can be returned in days.”