The government’s attack on the buy-to-let sector could lead to 500,000 rental properties being sold in the next 12 months, according to the National Landlords Association.
This would be followed by another 100,000 sold each year up to 2021, shrinking the UK private rental sector by 136,000 properties.
The trade body said that the number of landlords looking to sell in next 12 months has more than doubled since July last year from 7% to 19% and that confidence in the buy-to-let sector has now hit such a low it is worse than “levels witnessed during the financial crash”.
The NLA said that confidence in the buy-to-let sector is now 5% lower than after the financial crash in 2007 as a result of the government’s efforts to dampen the buy-to-let market and increase home ownership.
From 1 April, landlords and second home owners will have to pay extra stamp duty of 3%. Critics have pointed out that this could result in an increase in rents as landlords look to recoup losses.
The amount of tax relief landlords can claim on properties will also fall from April 2017.
Confidence in landlords’ business expectations has gone from 67% to an all-time low of 43% in the past year.
Lambert said: “Up to half a million properties could come onto the market as a result of the Summer Budget and Autumn Statement, which the Chancellor will no doubt deem a success.
“But there is no guarantee that these will be the one or two-bedroom flats or small houses that will appeal to first time buyers, especially as landlords are more likely to offload less desirable stock in less desirable areas.
“We’ve always said that Mr Osborne is blinded to the impact of his decisions by his commitment to homeownership. He may have intended to focus on the small-scale part-time investor, but it’s the larger and more professional landlords who will be hit worst by cuts to mortgage tax relief and increases to stamp duty, and who appear most likely to leave the sector.
“What happens to the people these landlords house if they still can’t buy and there are fewer and fewer properties available to rent?”