Friday, 24 October 2008

BTL - somebody help please

Today, the FT reported:

"Rescue plans for buy-to-let landlords, who face the prospect of seeing properties in their portfolios repossessed, are now being launched as the housing market continues to collapse.

Egerton Partners, an advisory firm, is one of the first groups to set up a plan. It is seeking out wealthy investors who might be interested in putting up capital to help struggling buy-to-let owners with property portfolios of £5m to £30m.

With such “partnership-agreements”, the buy-to-let landlord would retain ownership of the property, but the investor would receive any return up to a stated threshold. The original owner, however, would have the chance to benefit if rental yields on the property exceeded the threshold laid out in the contract.

"The arrangement allows the buy-to-let owner to maintain an ongoing role in the management of the portfolio and have a chance to gain a slice of the upside, if it is impressive,” explains Chris Fleming-Brown, a managing partner with Egerton."

There is well over one million officially recognised BTL mortgages in the UK, with many more hiding as owner-occupier mortgages. Overall, BTL accounts for over 10 percent of all outstanding mortgages. It is going to take an army of "wealthy investors" to bail out the BTL mountain of bad investments.

With UK house prices already down 15 percent, and the economy in recession, it is only a matter of time before the BTL market is gripped by an historically unprecedented panic.

To coin useful old cliche, it is going to be a race for the fire exit. If you are first through the door, you might survive. Everyone else will be destroyed as the whole rotten structure comes crashing down in flames.

I wish it were otherwise, but BTL was always a scam. It was always going to end this way, with far too many naive investors losing everything.


Nick von Mises said...

Doesn't sound like the BTL landlord still has ownership under this plan, even though their name remains on the deed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice,

Super good news:

Britain: Millions threatened with negative home equity and repossession
By Jordan Shilton
24 October 2008

A report by Standard & Poor's revealed that 335,000 households in Britain now find themselves in negative equity, meaning that the value of their homes has fallen below the cost of their mortgage. This is an increase of 250,000 in only four months, and the report makes clear that this may only be the beginning. By 2010, it predicts that as many as 2 million households could be threatened with falling into negative equity.


mike said...

It would be a silly BTL investor who doe not sell a property now knowing that it might lose as much as 50% of it's value within 3 years. It does not make financial sense and agree that there is likely to be some panic selling once recession and higher unemployment kicks in. We still have a long way to go with typical mortgages still at 5x average salary.

Anonymous said...

BTL wasn't a scam as such, although I understand what you mean.
It was an attempt to make renters pay off the capital costs of property.
I think we should thank our lucky stars that it failed because certainly the consequences of success would have been worse. I hope we don't make the mistake of assuming that UK votes/house buyers are innocent. They have all had their hand out and they have all pushed and squealed to take the benefits of others work.
The recession in the UK will be a tragedy for many, but a deserved punishment for most. I hope New Labour voters get it in the neck the worst personally, but you could probably pick your own target and be fully justified. We reap what we sow.
I don't want to end with the perennial whine, but I kept clear of debt. If you have debt, then clear it. If you can't clear the debt from asset sales, work it off.
Its called working.

QG said...

If only this were true. Wannabe property investors pile in to share losses with BTLers thus giving more chances for FTBers to buy a living space at an affordable price in a few years.

I doubt there are many rich investors that dumb.

If I was an investor sitting on a pile of cash, I'd be doing the vulture thing: wait to snap up cheap properties in a few years time when prices have dropped a lot more.

electro-kevin said...

Ajay Ahuja (BTL invester, chartered accountant and property guru) says:

Property investment is going to be BIG again! Rate cuts, further rate cuts expected and increased liquidity (to the tune of £500bn which is nearly 50% of the total mortgages outstanding in the UK) will mean there is a temporary position where:
property prices are low
monthly mortgage costs will be low
availability of finance will be high
This means massive opportunities will exist. I reckon this situation can last for up to 6 months before normality is restored. So when you can get a double digit yielding property, no money down with a buy to let mortgage at a rate below 6% offered to you, you have to ask yourself what more signals do you need to buy!We are in a very unique situation where errors are going to be made because government is mixing with commerce. We could see the government forcing banks to lend or face harsh penalties. If the banks start throwing money at you - TAKE IT!To see my new services have a look at my services home page. If you are interested in any of them request a call back and they will contact you at your convenience.Do not let this 6 month window of opportunity pass you by.Visit:

Nick von Mises said...

Ajay Ahuja (BTL invester, chartered accountant and property guru) says:

I'm a fool and I'm up to my neck in crappy condos I can't shift. Please buy 'em off me. P.S. I never learned a damn thing in the "business and financial management" module of my ACA exams.

Rick said...

It's probably a reincarnation of one of those property investment clubs - they have sold them the 3 day course, the right to buy property at a 'discounted member price', the property, the finance, the insurance and the furniture, now they're back to take it all away!

aSteve said...

Alice: "It was always going to end this way, with far too many naive investors losing everything."

I hope so.

RenterGirl said...

Buy let was a disaster. But we needed housing, and people wanted pensions. People on low incomes or inscure work or short term contracts can't afford to buy, and if they must move to work, might not want to. There was nothing inherently wrong, I think, with having one BTL property, charging a reasonable rent and hanging on to it, treating tenants fairly. The problem is that many erisla BTL'ers, like my landlord faced ruin when interest rates rose.

Markbaldy said...

No sympathy - it was these BMW driving pricks that helped drive property prices beyond any common sense, thus creating a massive divide in our society.
I will be happy when I see BTL'ers and former estate agents queueing at the sally army soup kitchens... joined by that horrendous Kirstie Allsop !

dearieme said...

Before the First World War, a rental property was often a widow-and-orphans investment. He died, and with the insurance payout she bought the property next door, or just down the street, and let it out. It was buggered up by Lloyd George's Rent Act, and the letting market has been buggered up much of the time since.

Anonymous said...

And strangle all the estate agents as well, with their faux upper-class attitude and crappy service. They've started calling us back now, after a long period when I couldn't get one of the buggers to give me the time of day.

Anonymous said...

Buy to let is finished.