BTL lending forecast revised down

The Council of Mortgage Lender’s (CML) buy-to-let forecast for 2017 and 2018 has been revised down from previous expectations at the end of last year, as ‘tax and prudential measures’ continue to ‘exert pressure’ on the market.

The CML now estimates buy-to-let lending of £35bn in 2017 and £33bn in 2018, a fall from £38bn in each year, forecast in December last year.

The revised forecast comes despite CML estimates that gross mortgage lending increased by 12% in May on both the previous month and on May last year to reach £20.1bn, as remortgage activity and first-time buyers continue to drive lending.

CML director general Paul Smee said: “Looking ahead, we expect to see this trend continue, but not as strongly, as the factors supporting lending are blunted by less favourable economic conditions.

“Buy-to-let had a weak start to 2017, and the sector’s contribution to overall net mortgage lending has fallen considerably over the last year.

“While falling mortgage interest rates have helped support borrowing, tax and prudential measures are exerting pressure on the buy-to-let market. Following the distortion of the stamp duty change on second properties last year, we expected a slight recovery in lending levels. However, this has not materialised, and we therefore have lowered our forecast for buy-to-let lending this year and next.

“This re-emphasises the case for avoiding further changes to the tax and regulatory framework until the effect of these already in train have been properly assessed.”

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