Landlords increased the size of their rental portfolios in the third quarter of this year, a survey by specialist buy-to-let lender Paragon Mortgages has revealed. Landlords reported an average rental property portfolio size of 14.7 properties, an increase from 13.3 properties in Q2. In the next 12 months, landlords expect to have 14.8 properties in their portfolios. During the quarter, landlords also continued to report improvement in the availability of buy-to-let finance, with 37% of landlords saying finance is now reasonably available. Only 25% reported finance to be reasonably available a year ago. An overwhelming majority of landlords were positive about demand levels, with 91% describing tenant demand as stable or growing. Given this favourable backdrop, the void period tightened slightly to 2.9 weeks from 3.0 weeks in Q2 and the average rental yield was unchanged at 6.4%.
John Heron, director of mortgages at Paragon, said: “The third quarter survey paints an encouraging picture of growth in the private rented sector, suggesting landlords increasingly have the confidence to invest because of improved access to finance. “Demand for private rented accommodation remains high and it is vital that this emerging confidence in the landlord community is nurtured in order to maintain the growth in supply. “Lenders are clearly improving their buy-to-let finance propositions in a bid to increase lending volumes. This is helping landlords expand their portfolios, but we must ensure that this lending is sustainable, and particularly that lending remains affordable to borrowers over the long term.”