High tenant demand means buy to lets can offer a lucrative investment for prospective and professional landlords. However, changing terms to tax relief on buy to let mortgages and rising interest rates require landlords to think carefully about the risks and rewards of entering into one.
If you’re considering a buy to let (BTL) mortgage, it’s important you understand the differences between a BTL mortgage and a residential mortgage and the different types available to you.
Having all the information available is one way to make a secure decision. That’s why we’ve created this guide on buy to let mortgages so you can make the right choice for you.
What is a Buy to Let Mortgage?
Put simply, a buy to let mortgage is a loan specifically designed for landlords looking to buy property to rent.
Buy to let mortgages are viewed as higher risk by lenders, meaning there can be higher fees, deposits and interest rates than residential mortgages.
But don’t let that put you off completely!
Can Anyone Get a Buy to Let Mortgage?
If you’re looking to buy property in order to rent it to other parties, it’s likely you’ll need to make a BTL mortgage application.
There are certain criteria you need to meet in order to be considered.
You are eligible for a BTL mortgage if:
- You are looking to invest in residential property (this includes houses and flats)
- You have the financial stability to repay the mortgage
- You own your own home (either with a previous mortgage or outright)
- You have a good credit rating
- You earn over £25,000 per annum
- You are below a certain age. (Most lenders have stipulations regarding the age you are when your mortgage ends which is usually between 70-75 maximum)
How do Buy to Let Mortgages Work?
BTL mortgages aren’t too different from regular mortgages, which, as a homeowner, you’ll be very familiar with.
There are, however, some variations it’s important to be aware of:
- Fees and interest rates are a lot higher than residential mortgages
- The deposit is around 25% of the property’s value as a minimum
- BTL mortgages tend to be interest only, rather than requiring monthly repayments. This means that the loan is to be paid in full at the end of the mortgage term.
- Most buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, if you are letting the property to a family member, this will be considered as a consumer buy to let mortgage and will be subject to the same regulations as a regular residential mortgage.
Types of Buy to Let Mortgages
Buy to let mortgage deals can differ depending on which lender you go with.
Interest rates will all depend on the amount of money you borrow and how much rental income you receive.
It will also be affected by the type of buy to let mortgage you choose:
Tracker BTL Mortgage
If you opt for a tracker mortgage, your monthly repayments are subject to change each month depending on interest rates. This is great news if rates decrease, but not so good if they increase dramatically.
Discounted Variable Mortgage
A discounted variable mortgage is a mortgage deal with an interest rate set around 2% below the SVR (standard variable rate). These deals usually last around two years. The rate is still subject to change dependant on the SVR, but the discount will stay in place for the agreed time.
Multiple Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
A fixed-rate mortgage will keep your repayments low and stable for two to five years. Different mortgage providers offer different deals, so it’s worth shopping around. Just make sure to check what the rate will increase to at the end of the fixed period.
How to Get a Buy to Let Mortgage
Now you know the basics, it’s time to find out how to apply for a BTL mortgage and where to look.
Most large banks loan BTL mortgages, and a mortgage broker can help you decide which mortgage deal makes the most sense for your needs and purposes.
Another place to look when searching for the best mortgage rates is a reputable price comparison website.
Here are some reliable sites to use:
- Which? Money Compare
- Money Saving Expert
- Money Supermarket Mortgages
It’s worth checking a few comparison sites to get the bigger picture before making a decision. And don’t forget to read the small print for hidden fees and extra charges!
How Much Can I Borrow?
Your borrowing limit is connected to your rental income. This is called a loan-to-value, or LTV amount, which is worked out as a percentage of the property value. An LTV for BTL mortgages is usually around 90%- 95% rather than 100% for residential mortgages.
This means that your loan is likely to be lower, due to the perceived high risk factor.
Because of this, it’s recommended that you charge around 25%- 30% more for rent than your mortgage payment.
Local property agents or websites can help you get an idea of the amount of rent you can charge in your desired area.
Despite lower borrowing amounts and a larger deposit, the average buy to let purchase price is actually lower than for a residential property.
Tax on Buy to Let Mortgages
Keep in mind that there will be other outgoings to consider when deciding if you can afford a BTL mortgage.
Income tax, capital gains tax, landlord fees, landlord insurance, and letting agent fees all need to be considered.
With changing terms to tax relief on buy to let mortgages it’s important to keep track.
The new regulations mean that landlords can no longer claim all their mortgage interest against income tax on rent. The amount of interest deductible is being reduced by 25% a year until 2020, when it will become a 20% tax credit on the mortgage interest paid.
This change has the potential to raise some landlords up a tax bracket.
Plan for all Circumstances
As you know, applying for a mortgage is a not a decision to be taken lightly as the responsibilities are a long-term commitment.
To protect your financial security, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for different eventualities.
For example, it’s not uncommon for a rental property to experience void periods in which no rent is coming in. Or, at some point or another, a pipe might burst, or a roof might need urgent repair. As a responsible landlord, you need to be able to provide effective and timely repairs.
To protect yourself from this burden, making a savings plan is vital. Ensure you are saving as much as possible when you have full paying tenants to avoid any stressful situations in the future. This should happen before making an offer on a house.
Tip: Don’t rely on selling the property to pay the mortgage off! If house prices fall, and you don’t have a backup plan, you’re in serious trouble.
Protect Your Buy to Let Investment
While applying for a mortgage is always a risk, once you have all the information at your fingertips, you can make a better informed decision.
One way to help guarantee the safety of your property investment is to ensure you are fulfilling all your duties and requirements as a landlord.
No Letting Go offer a wide range of property management services including professional unbiased inventories, safety assessments and maintenance reports to help you protect your investment.
Browse our full list of services to find out how we can help.
If you fancy turning your hand to property investment but unsure where to start, we’ve got it covered. We’ve taken a look at the best place to invest in property in the UK. To work this out, we’ve looked at the average rental yield all UK cities and ranked them accordingly. We’ve worked this out by looking at the average property value and average annual rent in each city. Where does your city rank?
Ranked from bottom to top by average rental yield percentage, here are the results…
68. St Albans – 2.76%
Average property price: £581,041
Average rent: £1,336 pcm
67. Truro – 2.85%
Average property price: £320,611
Average rent: £761 pcm
66. Worcester – 2.87%
Average property price: £260,039
Average rent: £623 pcm
65. Chelmsford – 3.04%
Average property price: £387,413
Average rent: £982 pcm
64. Salisbury – 3.08%
Average property price: £341,338
Average rent: £876 pcm
63. St Asaph – 3.1%
Average property price: £225,104
Average rent: £581 pcm
62. Hereford – 3.14%
Average property price: £249,947
Average rent: £655 pcm
61. Ripon – 3.2%
Average property price: £290,495
Average rent: £774 pcm
60. Lichfield – 3.2%
Average property price: £291,353
Average rent: £777 pcm
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59. Wells – 3.31%
Average property price: £308,536
Average rent: £850 pcm
58. Cambridge – 3.34%
Average property price: £455,104
Average rent: £1,268 pcm
57. Winchester – 3.36%
Average property price: £548,755
Average rent: £1,537 pcm
56. Chichester – 3.4%
Average property price: £428,867
Average rent: £1,214 pcm
55. Wolverhampton – 3.44%
Average property price: £188,146
Average rent: £539 pcm
54. Bath – 3.44%
Average property price: £444,257
Average rent: £1,274 pcm
53. Gloucester – 3.47%
Average property price: £230,997
Average rent: £668 pcm
52. Chester – 3.5%
Average property price: £254,681
Average rent: £742 pcm
51. Perth – 3.5%
Average property price: £202,679
Average rent: £591 pcm
50. Exeter – 3.52%
Average property price: £293,069
Average rent: £860 pcm
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49. York – 3.55%
Average property price: £282,874
Average rent: £837 pcm
48. St David’s – 3.56%
Average property price: £234,104
Average rent: £695 pcm
47. Peterborough – 3.7%
Average property price: £217,668
Average rent: £672 pcm
46. Carlisle – 3.73%
Average property price: £157,070
Average rent: £488 pcm
45. Ely – 3.8%
Average property price: £295,045
Average rent: £935 pcm
44. Norwich – 3.9%
Average property price: £265,871
Average rent: £864 pcm
43. Leicester – 4.01%
Average property price: £216,421
Average rent: £724 pcm
42. Bristol – 4.03%
Average property price: £314,629
Average rent: £1,057 pcm
41. Canterbury – 4.07%
Average property price: £335,782
Average rent: £1,138 pcm
40. Lincoln – 4.07%
Average property price: £192,423
Average rent: £653 pcm
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39. Wakefield – 4.08%
Average property price: £177,810
Average rent: £605 pcm
38. Derby – 4.12%
Average property price: £194,951
Average rent: £669 pcm
37. Lancaster – 4.25%
Average property price: £191,729
Average rent: £679 pcm
36. Dundee – 4.28%
Average rental price: £156,781
Average rent: £559 pcm
35. Southampton – 4.36%
Average rental price: £289,546
Average rent: £1,053 pcm
34. Hull – 4.43%
Average rental price: £133,306
Average rent: £492 pcm
33. Newry – 4.44%
Average rental price: £146,353
Average rent: £542 pcm
32. Oxford – 4.46%
Average property price: £503,570
Average rent: £1,870 pcm
31. Stoke-on-Trent – 4.53%
Average property price: £143,358
Average rent: £541 pcm
30. Bradford – 4.53%
Average property price: £129,444
Average rent: £489 pcm
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29. Aberdeen – 4.58%
Average property price: £197,352
Average rent: £753 pcm
28. Preston – 4.6%
Average property price: £179,405
Average rent: £687 pcm
27. Inverness – 4.68%
Average property price: £177,736
Average rent: £693 pcm
26. Newport – 4.71%
Average property price: £165,970
Average rent: £651 pcm
25. Stirling – 4.78%
Average property price: £194,439
Average rent: £775 pcm
24. Brighton & Hove – 4.79%
Average property price: £385,220
Average rent: £1,537 pcm
23. London – 4.8%
Average property price: £672,390
Average rent: £2,692 pcm
22. Newcastle – 4.81%
Average property price: £203,524
Average rent: £816 pcm
21. Sheffield – 4.91%
Average property price: £187,360
Average rent: £767 pcm
20. Sunderland – 5.02%
Average property price: £139,518
Average rent: £584 pcm
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19. Derry – 5.12%
Average property price: £110,884
Average rent: £473 pcm
18. Glasgow – 5.21%
Average property price: £175,623
Average rent: £762 pcm
17. Lisburn – 5.36%
Average property price: £143,435
Average rent: £641 pcm
16. Plymouth – 5.47%
Average property price: £200,655
Average rent: £914 pcm
15. Cardiff – 5.6%
Average property price: £233,833
Average rent: £1,092 pcm
14. Belfast – 5.72%
Average property price: £153,310
Average rent: £731 pcm
13. Swansea – 5.74%
Average property price: £167,147
Average rent: £799 pcm
12. Liverpool – 5.78%
Average property price: £164,838
Average rent: £794 pcm
11. Portsmouth – 5.81%
Average property price: £227,041
Average rent: £1,100 pcm
10. Edinburgh – 5.89%
Coming in at 10th place is Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. The city is a highly desirable place to live and is a huge cultural hub north of the border. Having said this, property prices are relatively low while rent remains high. This means, Edinburgh is a great place for any landlord to build a portfolio.
Average property price: £268,989
Average rent: £1,320 pcm
9. Nottingham – 5.97%
With a popular university paired with high standard of living, property investment in Nottingham could be a money maker. With a 5.97% average rental yield, this is a serious consideration for anyone looking to make money.
Average property price: £188,609
Average rent: £939 pcm
8. Birmingham – 6.27%
Proclaimed to be the second city in the UK, Birmingham was guaranteed to feature high in this list. The property prices are in line with much of the midlands while rent is high. The popular university also prevents an opportunity for those considering student lets.
Average property price: £188,235
Average rent: £984 pcm
7. Armagh – 6.42%
The Northern Irish city is claimed to be the fifth-least-populous city in the UK. Maybe that goes some way to explaining the low property prices. Rent, at least, is in line with the surrounding area.
Average property price: £105,815
Average rent: £566 pcm
6. Manchester – 6.5%
Though Birmingham takes the title of Britain’s second city, Manchester seems to be stealing the attention. It’s a highly favourable place to live, especially among the younger generations who seek a buzzy metropolitan area. This has led to rent remaining high while property prices sit in line with much of the north of England.
Average property price: £175,872
Average rent: £952 pcm
5. Coventry – 6.64%
Coventry storms ahead into 5th position in our list. As the ninth largest city in the UK, it’s no surprise it features high. The city is the only Midlands spot to break the £1,000 average rent mark.
Average property price: £195,255
Average rent: £1,080 pcm
4. Durham – 6.71%
At the business end of the list we find north-eastern city of Durham. The location is renowned for its beauty and highly respected university. There are plenty of reasons why people are attracted to the city, an alluring potential for investment.
Average property price: £159,146
Average rent: £890 pcm
3. Leeds – 6.89%
Another city that people are naturally driven to. Leeds is metropolitan city renowned for its shopping, nightlife and culture. If you consider the high rent prices and relatively low property prices, you may find yourself building a portfolio here.
Average property price: £204,644
Average rent: £1,175 pcm
2. Salford – 7.53%
If you’re looking to invest in Manchester, you may do better by looking to neighbouring Salford. The city offers similar average rent but with a reduction in average property prices, a win-win!
Average property price: £156,118
Average rent: £979 pcm
1. Bangor – 9.42%
The best place to invest in property in the UK is Bangor – an exceptional opportunity for anyone considering property investment. The house prices are aligned with the local area and pretty low. The average rent is considerably higher, exceeding £1,300 pcm.
Average property price: £169,148
Average rent: £1,328 pcm
All figures accurate on date of publish.
If you’re considering becoming a landlord, don’t get caught up in messy deposit disputes. We can help. Find out how No Letting Go’s inventory services can remove the hassle from the situation.