Fight or flight? Landlords split over prospects for the buy-to-let sector

Landlords are almost evenly split between those pressing on despite tax changes and others heading for the exit.

Analysis by peer-to-peer property lender Octopus Choice of more than 1,000 buy-to-let investors found that 56% want to keep or buy more rental properties in contrast to 44% who are looking to sell.

A quarter blamed falling yields or tax changes, while a fifth said they were leaving due to cooling house prices.

Another 60% said property management had become a burden and 61% undervalued the costs involved.

Millennial landlords – those aged 18 to 35 – were more inclined to sell than stay with two thirds planning to offload one or more of their properties. This compares to 29% of over-55s.

Younger landlords were also more likely to admit that managing a buy-to-let has become a hassle, at 81% compared to 39% of investors over 55.

The analysis also found that London landlords have been hardest hit by tax changes.

The platform built a model to analyse the income and costs associated with buying, running and selling an additional property over an eight-year period, including repairs, mortgage charges and annual agency fees of 15% of rent.

It used the 2017 average UK house price growth statistics and rental yield figures from LiveYield, revealing that a landlord with an average property in London worth £475,000 would have to sell it for £590,000, a 2.46% return, just to break even.

In contrast, those in the east midlands and Scotland have seen growth from their portfolios of above 8%.

Sam Handfield-Jones, head of Octopus Choice, said: “Brits still have an incessant love affair with bricks and mortar – but the hassle and cost of buy-to-let is a source of growing frustration, and some landlords may find that their once reliable day-to-day income is becoming harder and harder to come by.

“But this isn’t the case across all parts of the market, with money still to be made from the right property in the right region.”

Overall return after eight years, by region






North East




South East


Yorkshire & Humber


South West


North West


West Midlands


East Midlands





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