B2L lending soared in 2007

Buy-to-let lending boomed by £2.9bn in the second half of 2007.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show that buy-to-let len-ding increased to £24.1bn in the six months to December, up from £21.2bn in the first half of the year.

Mortgages to landlords, including remortgages, increased to 179,100 in the second half of the year – up from 171,800 in the first half. Total outstanding buy-to-let mortgages topped the one million mark, reaching 1.04 million at the end of the year.

The CML figures also highlight BM Solutions as last year’s top buy-to-let lender based on gross advances.

Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, says: “Our members be-lieve the buy-to-let market will see further growth this year.”

Andy McQueen, managing director of Nationwide Specialist Lending, says: “Buy-to-let has remained resilient and we are seeing strong demand.”

And David Austin, managing director of property investment consultancy Property for Life, says: “The appetite for investing in bricks and mortar is as strong as ever.”

The CML figures come as Nicholas Leeming, major client director of Propertyfinder.com, says he estimates that around 3.1 million individuals will live in rented accommodation in retirement due to high house prices.

But despite the optimism, Connells Survey & Valuation claims the buy-to-let sector’s share of the purchase market fell from 13% in the first two months of 2007 to just 10% in the same period this year.