There has been an all-out attack on private landlords recently by the Conservative Government in an apparent attempt to 'level the playing field' for homeowners and first-time buyers.

From April this year, buy-to-let purchases were subject to an additional 3% Stamp Duty charge, and from April 2017, landlords will see their ability to deduct mortgage interest costs as a business expense phased out (Section 24).

But will these changes really mean that first-time buyers climb onto the property ladder in their droves?

Well, we already know that it is somewhat of a myth that landlords always compete with first-time buyers when purchasing.

According to the London School of Economics, only a minority of sales to landlords also involved bids from first-time buyers. In addition, since Section 24 was announced, buy-to-let borrowing has reduced 50%, whereas the number of loans to first-time-buyers has remained unchanged.

Unsurprisingly, it's actually the ability to save for a deposit that is the biggest barrier to buying a property, not the availability.

Setting aside the fact that some people just don't want to buy a property or don't prioritise it - it comes third on the list* after the desire to travel the world and visit a dream holiday destination - research from Tiles Direct revealed that 38% of first-time buyers said rents were too high to save for a deposit.

So what is surprising is that the Government is intent on implementing policies that are proven to increase rents for tenants, making home ownership even further out of reach.

As was the case in Ireland, 'Tenant Tax' policies like Section 24 are proven to dramatically increase rents for tenants and reduce the supply of available rental property.

At Platinum Property Partners (PPP), we know that the majority of our tenants do eventually want to own their own home, because we asked them. We also know that by renting a high quality room in one of our Partners' shared houses, they are able to save £1,600 more a year than if they were renting alone.

Of course there are other benefits to house sharing, such as flexibility and the social aspect, but by paying a lower monthly rent which includes all bills, our tenants could save for a deposit in half the time.

In addition, for the market as a whole, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) make more efficient use of existing housing stock, and often makes use of large run-down properties that first-time buyers would never even consider purchasing for their first home.

The question now is, if the Government is serious about helping more people get on the housing ladder, will they look more closely at the real barriers to entry? I wonder if the additional revenue they are earning from increased landlord taxes will really be invested into helping first-time buyers, like abolishing Stamp Duty for them.

Let's see what the Autumn Statement has in store.

*Nationwide Personal Loans

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Whether you’re keen to find out more about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), or want information on the latest lettings legislation, you’ll find it here on the blog.