A new think tank is fundamentally wrong in its analysis of private rented housing and the number of buy-to-let mortgages is falling, not rising. In its first report, focussed on housing, the Conservative supporting Onward, claims that at the end of 2017 buy-to-let lending was above the 2007 peak. In fact new buy-to-let lending for house purchases has fallen from over 183,000 loans in 2007 to just 74,900 in 2017, a fall of nearly 60%, according to figures from UK Finance, formerly the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
The total number of buy-to-let mortgages, including re-mortgages, also fell from 339,000 in 2007 to 227,000 in 2017, a drop of a third. The private rented sector is actually shrinking with the Government’s own statistics showing that the number of private rented dwellings in England fell by 46,000 in the year to March 2017.
David Smith, policy director at the RLA, said: “The report is riddled with errors and fails to address the fundamental point that we need more homes to rent, not less. Rather than coming out with ideological assaults on the private rented sector, we need to reform tax so that it encourages the development of new homes to rent and longer tenancies so that the sector can adequately provide the pathway for tenants to go from renting to home ownership.”