Buy-to-let lending to increase

Competition in the buy-to-let market was fuelled further today as the Co-operative Bank’s broker lender promised to up lending in the sector by a third this year.

Platform, the dedicated intermediary lender of the Co-operative Bank, said it would lend at least £600m in buy-to-let loans in 2012, as uncertainty in the wider housing market was fuelling rental demand.

Lee Gladwell, business development director at Platform, said: “Uncertainty around the economy, employment and house prices is continuing to fuel demand for the rental market.”

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Property website Rightmove has said there are nearly three times more buy-to-let mortgage products available than two years ago, as the market has boomed due to “trapped renters” – those who would like to buy their own home but cannot afford to do so.

Meanwhile, Rightmove has experienced record search activity over the new year, but this has been met by the number of new homes for sale slumping to the lowest point in more than a decade.

Rightmove warned the market will remain “challenging and fragmented” in 2012, with this year’s “winners” including those who have a deposit and are able to take advantage of some of lenders’ cheapest ever deals, buy-to-let investors in the booming rental sector and people selling character properties “with a difference”.

Angus Howarth