Why Buy-to-Let Purchases are Rising in 2022

Despite the challenges we have faced over the past two years, a surprising outcome of the pandemic was the boost it caused to the property market. And in the upcoming months, the buy-to-let market is expected to see even more growth.

About our guest blogger:
Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.

Following the exodus from cities at the start of the pandemic, more people are returning to city life and seeking the flexibility that rentals offer as a result. The increase in tenant demand is pushing property values and rental prices up and could see remortgaging in the buy-to-let sector hit new levels. As a result, it’s anticipated that landlords will be looking to expand their existing portfolios or dive into the market as a way to maximise their profits.

Boosted rental prices

Rent prices are rising fast, which serves as a great opportunity for those invested in the market. In fact, while the Office for National Statistics has indicated that rents have increased by 1.8% across the UK over the past year, business consultants believe that the figure is closer to 8%.

Neighbourhoods in central London, Yorkshire, Birmingham and Manchester have seen a rise in rental prices, making these destinations particularly popular with investors. Tenant demand is expected to remain strong throughout 2022, and as prices for rental properties increase, the desire for investors to put their money into buy-to-let properties will follow suit.

Increase in remortgaging activity

One of the key themes for lenders, brokers and landlords in the coming year will be the increase in remortgaging activity. The new underwriting standards which were introduced back in 2017 by Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), were coupled with low interest rates of that period to encourage longer-term mortgages. But, those five-year fixed-rate mortgages will be coming to an end which is expected to boost the remortgaging sector considerably.

What’s more, fears of soaring inflation have led many experts to suggest that the base rate of interest will rise in 2022. Since most landlords investing in a buy-to-let property will obtain a mortgage to do so, particularly in locations where properties are more expensive like London, borrowers will be keen to secure a loan sooner to avoid a hike in interest rates. According to a report from Shawbrook Bank, 34% of landlords intend to buy at least one more property in 2022 and many more are likely to utilise borrowing as a way of expanding their portfolios.

Student cities repopulating in droves

Another reason why buy-to-let looks set to be a popular investment option is that after a period of uncertainty for the student community, filled with remote studying and living away from campuses, high numbers of students are returning to campus. Likewise as the travel sector and global travel returns to normal, international students are returning to the UK to resume their studies leading to rising rental demand. Such movement has bolstered the rental demand in student-heavy areas and it’s an issue that’s not only prevalent in the UK but across Europe.

In cities such as Leeds, properties over the last few months have been reserved solely after virtual viewings in many cases in order to secure homes for the academic year, and many students are paying premium prices to lock in properties.

With student populations at their limit, and courses at numerous universities oversubscribed, it offers a huge opportunity for the buy-to-let market and for letting agencies, since students now appear to have larger budgets and a willingness to pay a premium for the best properties close to amenities. Since tenants are increasingly happy to rely on virtual viewings and signing on for properties without physically seeing them, letting agencies can complete property transactions for clients much faster.

The year of build-to-rent

One of the proposed solutions to the demand for rental properties is build-to-rent, and 2022 has been dubbed the year that this solution really takes off. There are estimated to be over 205,000 build-to-rent homes in the UK, and according to research from the British Property Federation, the number of completed build-to-rent developments has jumped up by 27% in 2021 compared to 2020. This growth shows no signs of slowing down and 2022 could well be the year that build-to-rent becomes the go-to solution.

This option commands a premium price tag and is intended to appeal to younger renters, since the developments offer on-site facilities and contemporary furnishings, but many investors have expressed interest in catering to modest incomes and families seeking rentals too.

A year with ample potential for investors

With rents likely to rise by as much as 4.5% by the end of the year, according to a study by Zoopla, and the reopening of the economy post-pandemic, there are certainly opportunities for rental investments throughout this year. Investors need to stay mindful of the needs of tenants and market trends when putting money down on a property.

Despite much research carried out, the need to protect investments has never been stronger given the challenges of the past year, which is why investors should remain prudent and use letting agencies and property managers to help them manage property portfolios more effectively and make stronger investment decisions. With legislative changes occurring all the time, a simple mistake could cost investors considerably.

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By Dakota Murphey
31st January 2022

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