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B2L recovery steady but from a low base

Our latest buy-to-let figures for the three months to March 2012 show lending volumes in the sector up year-on-year for the eighth quarter running.

In Q1 2012 we saw a 32% annual rise in the value of buy-to-let loans, from £2.8bn to £3.7bn, compared with Q1 2011. But despite this growth, buy-to-let lending is still running at only about a third of its peak before the credit crunch.

This market is recovering from a low trough, rather than experiencing runaway growth in the way that some headlines may imply. The maximum average LTV offered on buy-to-let mortgages has remained static at 75% since the start of 2009.

The figures do show, however, that compared with Q4 2011, lending has fallen 5% from £3.9bn. This is the second consecutive quarter in which lending is lower than in the preceding three months.

Whether or not this is the start of a trend is too early to tell, but it is notable that the drop in buy-to-let purchase loans has been more pronounced this quarter.

There may have been some displacement of business to first-time buyers, due to the rush to beat the expiry of the Stamp Duty holiday in March.

In 2011, every time we reported that the buy-to-let figures showed quarterly growth, commentators suggested landlords were crowding out first-time buyers.

But don’t hold your breath for them to concede that, for once, it may be that first-time buyers have crowded out landlords.


Former B&B commercial director joins HML

Andy Wiggans, the former commercial director at Bradford & Bingley, has joined mortgage outsourcing firm HML as its chief commercial officer.

Virgin reduces mortgage rates

Virgin Money has reduced the interest rates on a number of its fixed rate mortgages by up to 0.20%

Recording sickness absence cover - thumbnail

White paper — recording sickness absence

The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions illustrate that sickness absence is still a major cost to businesses, with an annual bill for sick pay and associated costs to employers of £9bn. This paper from Jelf Employee Benefits looks at the importance of recording sickness absence for any employee health strategy and how this can be carried out in an efficient manner to reduce absence, improve employee engagement and drive up profits.


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