Buy-to-let lending outstrips residential mortgages, says Bank of England


Mortgage approvals continue their moderate rise, as the mainstream market remains largely unaffected by the uncertainty created by the general election while the upper end of the market takes a pause.

With the Bank of England uncertain as to when interest rates will rise, according to the latest minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee, what chance do mere borrowers have? The vast majority are opting for fixed-rate mortgages to give them some certainty and with lenders reducing those further in recent weeks, we are seeing the cheapest deals in a generation. With five-year fixes now available for less than 2 per cent, pricing is not that more expensive than for a two-year fix, yet with a great deal of added certainty.

Buy-to-let is the real lending success story, seeing a huge improvement in terms of deals available, rates and relaxing of criteria since the downturn. While lenders abandoned the market in their droves after the onset of the financial crisis, they are well and truly back, and with pension freedoms introduced this month, many are sensing further opportunities. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, over the past five years the share of total buy-to-let lending in overall mortgage lending has picked up to 15 per cent in 2014 Q4, higher than in the pre-crisis period.

Jonathan Harris
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Jonathan Harris