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The trade body for the mortgage sector has warned that buy-to-let purchase lending is set to come in at below its forecasts for 2018.

UK Finance had predicted £12bn of buy-to-let lending for house purchase this year, but Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages, has warned this is heading for around £9bn.

Speaking at UK Finance’s annual mortgage conference, she said: “Our forecast for 2018 was for around £12bn for buy-to-let purchase. The market looks like it will considerably undershoot this, coming in more around £9bn.

“This is undoubtedly the impact of the various tax, regulatory and legislative changes that have happened to landlords in the buy-to-let sector.

“With the 2018 tax bills dropping through landlords’ letterboxes, or more likely in their inboxes these days, we are yet to see what further impact this may have on the market.”

She was more positive about the overall mortgage market, predicting gross lending would hit a decade-high of £270bn this year.

Bennett also expressed caution about the growth of online mortgage brokers.

She said: “The Financial Conduct Authority  wants it to be easier for customers to understand the products they may be eligible for earlier in the process. This is a laudable aim.

“However, as customers have ever more complex circumstances – multiple incomes, self-employment, contracting to name but a few – it is more difficult for any ‘tool’ to narrow down the products available for a particular customer. Based on our conversations with lenders it would take several hundred questions to ensure that all bases were covered.

“That’s not to say that technology developments won’t help more standard customers – they will do and they are – but I think we have to be realistic about what proportion of the market can be served in this way.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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