Record numbers of landlords 're-mortgaging to spend cash sprucing up properties'

A record number of landlords re-mortgaging their buy-to-let property over the last 12 months withdrew money to make home improvements, according to a lettings network.

Countrywide, which used its own data to make projections for the whole of Britain, estimated that in the last 12 months 9,523 landlords who re-mortgaged their buy-to-let withdrew money for home improvements.

This was the highest in its records going back to 2006 and over three times more than in 2016, when the figure was put at 2,967.

On average, £22,850 was withdrawn to spruce up properties.

The figures suggest that re-mortgaging landlords in the East of England are the most likely to withdraw money to make home improvements.

In the past 12 months, one in 10 (10.4%) landlords in the East of England who re-mortgaged released money to spend on home improvements, Countrywide said.

Landlords in London took out the most money typically to spend on buy-to-let improvements, at £35,470 on average.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said recent stamp duty and other tax changes mean more landlords are choosing to invest in their properties, refurbishing and improving them and holding on to them for longer to maximise gains.

He said: "A record number of landlords are re-mortgaging to release money to spend on their properties instead of trading up."

Here are the proportions of landlords who re-mortgaged and used money on home improvements over the past 12 months, according to Countrywide:

1. East of England, 10.4%
2. South East England, 8.1%
3. North West England, 8%
4. London, 7.4%
5. Yorkshire and the Humber, 6.8%
6. North East England, 6.5%
7. Wales, 6.1%
8. Midlands, 5.8%
9. South West England, 5.6%
10. Scotland, 4%

And here are the average amounts withdrawn by a re-mortgaging landlord for home improvements in the past 12 months, according to Countrywide:

1. London, £35,470
2. East of England, £22,240
3. South East England, £22,020
4. Midlands, £21,400
5. South West England, £21,080
6. Wales, £19,420
7. North West England, £16,930
8. North East England, £12,960
9. Scotland, £11,280
10. Yorkshire and the Humber, £11,150