38% of landlords feel positive about the future of the rental market - what do the experts think?

The new Landlords and Tenants survey by NatWest has revealed that over a third of British landlords are feeling good about the UK rental market and want to invest in more buy to let properties in the future.

There's been plenty of news recently around the buy to let market; in fact, it was revealed only last week that property is still the best way to save for retirement. Could this be what is keeping landlords positive about the future?

However, with new Government initiatives aiming to help tenants over landlords and raise the costs of running buy-to-let, do the experts think this will put a dampener on the market?

Kate Faulkner, a property market expert who has authored 11 property books as well as working on key reports such as the Future Homes Commission, believes these schemes aren't all they seem:

"The problem we have is MPs naively think if they reduce buy-to-let investors, magically first time buyers will have tens of thousands of pounds in their bank accounts for deposits and to buy. Most buy to let investors, in my view, buy properties to convert rooms or do up to rent out. This means they are buying properties that don't compete with first time buyers."

Faulkner thinks that the future is bright for landlords: "By this time next year, I believe there will be a realisation that this anti-landlord policy is flawed... As a result, I think the next year or so will continue to be rough for landlords, but in a couple of years' time it will get better."

The changing rental market

The rental market has seen many shifts in recent years, from a huge increase in long-term tenants to holiday letting platforms such as Airbnb offering potentially providing a much higher rental yields for landlords.

The survey revealed that generally landlords feel positive about Airbnb's influence on the rental market, and none were more positive than those in London, where 27% felt the platform had a positive influence.

Chris Horne, a portfolio landlord and founder of Property Hawk, notes that Airbnb has more influence in areas where there are lots of tourists such as London, Bath or Harrogate, but there are positives for using the platform over traditional renting:

"In these areas [tourist hotspots] where a landlord is prepared for a higher management input then Airbnb can offer a genuine alternative to the traditional buy-to-let model. The returns can be significant which is why it has become so popular in certain areas."

But Horne is also aware that renting through Airbnb involves running an entirely different business: “An Airbnb letting, particularly a successful one, is more like running a mini B&B or hotel; not the model that most landlords are used to with buy-to-let."

Although the next year might be difficult for landlords, there are plenty of options available, such as using holiday letting platforms. But even so, the survey revealed landlords are still making a healthy income from their properties, with rental yields looking strong across the whole of the UK at an average of 9.2%. The North West is performing the best with average yields at 10.6%, closely followed by Wales at 10.5%.

Before considering your option for buy to let, Martin & Co recommends considering your long-term goals, as well as current market conditions. Seeking professional advice from an independent financial advisor is a good place to start.

If you would like more advice, you can contact your local Martin & Co office.

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