Brief History Of Buy-To-Let Property Investing

Buy-to-let has, over the years, shown remarkable growth. Although private rental has always been with us, the sector really took off in the final years of the last century, around 1996, when there was increasing demand for rental properties but a lack of supply. Steady growth has seen the private rented sector made up 19 per cent of households in England – or 4.4million – in 2014, and at 11 per cent in 2003. (Source: This Is Money).

More investors translated into more (and more flexible) deals, and more specialist companies trying to service the demand or offer alternatives. There were some hiccups, of course, and some people may have been affected more than others – usually due to a matter of timing: someone needing to sell a property investment around the time of the financial crash would have had problems. On the other hand, increasing cost of ownership has put this beyond the reach of many young people, for whom rental is the only feasible option.

The steady growth of university education has also proved a godsend for investors (many of whom were, it may be said, quite slow to react to this huge new market!). 2013 saw the highest number of new students, with almost half a million beginning a new full-time course (Source: BBC). Ever since the Labour government’s avowed ‘Education, education, education’ in 1996 there has been a reasonably steady growth in student numbers, with a few odd dips when fees were tweaked. The majority of these increasingly sophisticated students became new opportunities for landlords; originally ‘anything went’ and the standard of accommodation was often woeful. Today’s students are demanding – and getting – purpose-built units with wifi, sports and other communal facilities.