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Buy-to-let lending for property purchase plummets 80%

The number of property investors looking to invest in the buy-to-let market continued to fall last month as a result of higher stamp duty costs and the phased reduction in mortgage tax relief, fresh figures show.

Buy-to-let lending for property purchases fell by almost 80% year-on-year in March, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Landlords borrowed a total of £900m for new acquisitions in March, down 79.5% compared with the same month last year, when £4.4bn worth of loans were advanced for buy-to-let investments.

But it is worth noting that buy-to-let investors rushed to buy property in the early part of last year so that they could complete deals by 1 April 2016 and avoid the introduction of a 3% stamp duty surcharge, and so it was almost inevitable that there would be a major decline in terms of lending figures in the sector.

According to the CML’s monthly lending trends data, remortgaging remains popular as borrowers continue to take advantage of cheap mortgage deals and lenders’ willingness to attract new business.

“Overall, lending trends have remained reasonably consistent,” said Paul Smee, director general of the CML.

This trend is expected to continue well into the summer, according to Harry Landy, managing director at Enterprise Finance.

He commented: “The UK’s property market has proven itself to be resilient and buoyant, and we anticipate month-on-month lending will continue to pick up.

“With house prices also picking up, now is a good time for investors, developers and homeowners to invest in property.”

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