The number of properties purchased using Buy-To-Let mortgages increased by 84,000 during 2011, increasing the supply of suitable Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing according to the latest data released by the Council of Mortgage lenders (CML).

During the last quarter of 2011 a total of 34,800 Buy To Let mortgages, including 15,600 remortgages, were granted to property investors and landlords expanding their rental property portfolios. The total value of the mortgage loans topped £4 Billion (GBP).

The value of the fourth quarter mortgage loans matched the value achieved during the 3rd quarter in the same year with 34,300 loans worth £4 Billion (GBP).

Compared to the height of the UK mortgage market in 2007 when quarterly lending totalled 93,000 loans worth £12.7 Billion (GBP), the UK BTL market continues to operate at relatively subdued levels, but is clearly continuing to recover from the 2009 lowest point.

Buy-To-Let mortgages account for almost 13% of the total outstanding value of mortgages in the UK and BTL lending represented nearly 11% of total gross mortgage lending in the 4th quarter of 2011.

The arrears performance of Buy to let loans is better than the owner occupier market, but the property repossession rate is far higher.

Mortgage lenders are now making more strenuous efforts to help home-owners keep their homes wherever realistically possible, however, Buy-To-Let landlords must normally show greater fluidity over much shorter timescales in order to satisfy the mortgage lender.

UK landlords without Rent Guarantee insurance have been worried about keeping up with their mortgage payments if the tenant does not pay the rent and they continue to worry about how this will affect their, and in some cases, even the tenant’s standing with mortgage lenders.

Provided that the landlord has a bona fide Buy-To-Let mortgage and the tenancy is recognised by the lender, the tenant’s rights remain unchanged should the landlord be forced to default on mortgage payments.

CML Director General, Paul Smee said: “Buy to let lending continues to perform well and demand for rented property remains high, so the rationale for UK BTL remains strong and there is little reason to foresee any changes to this positive outlook for the UK BTL sector. The figures fail to suggest that Buy To Let is crowding out First Time Buyers (FTBs), more that it is performing a really important role within the UK housing market. The benefits of the availability of quality private rented housing should not be overlooked, especially as there are many households which need the flexibility and mobility that the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is well placed to provide”.

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