Cash house purchases at highest level in a decade among landlords

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The proportion of landlords paying for properties in cash has reached its highest levels in at least a decade, according to an index.

January saw a 61% of landlord purchases being made in cash across Britain, the highest figure since records started in 2007, according to lettings network Countrywide.

Landlords buying in the North of England, where houses are often less expensive, are the most likely to pay in cash, the report found.

Some 70% of landlord purchases in the North West of England are in cash, as are 68% in Yorkshire and the Humber and 67% in the North East.

Landlords in London are the most likely to use a mortgage, with 42% of purchases being in cash.

Countrywide said the proportion of landlords buying in cash has steadily increased over the last decade. In 2007, just 41% of landlords bought a home without a mortgage.

Recent announcements about tax changes for landlords, including a stamp duty hike imposed on this sector in April 2016, have left landlords facing a squeeze on their profits.

Last week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said rents are predicted to push up faster than house prices over the next five years as landlords are expected to scale back the number of properties on their books.

RICS found a net balance of 28% more surveyors feel landlords are likely to decrease rather than increase their portfolios over the next 12 months and over the next three years a balance of 26% expect landlords to scale back their portfolios.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: "On average landlords sell a home once every 17 years, meaning as prices have increased, a significant amount of wealth has built up in the sector. This is now fuelling cash purchases."

Mr Morris said that following the stamp duty increase last year, there have been signs of the number of homes on the rental market coming down.

He said: "If this fall continues over the next few months, it is likely to support rental price growth."

Here are the proportions of landlord property purchases being paid for in cash across Britain, according to Countrywide's index:

:: North West, 70%

:: Yorkshire and the Humber, 68%

:: South West, 67%

:: North East, 67%

:: Wales, 63%

:: East Midlands, 62%

:: Scotland, 60%

:: West Midlands, 54%

:: South East, 54%

:: East of England, 52%

:: London, 42%