With reports that the Bank of England is watching buy-to-let investment closely, with a view to introducing strict new lending criteria, it may be that without huge deposits this type of buyer would be "locked out" of the market in many locations – including towns and cities in the West Midlands.
Recent research by Property Partner, involving an analysis of 85 towns and cities across the UK, revealed that 59 of these locations would become inaccessible to landlords if tighter lending criteria is introduced. The criteria, proposed by the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority, would demand a deposit of at least 40%. Worcester in the West Midlands is listed as one of the locations where buy-to-let landlords would face the highest barriers to entry.
The stricter measures would aim to safeguard landlords from over-stretching themselves financially if interest rates were to rise. The majority of lenders currently require the rental income on a property to cover 125% of the mortgage payments. Already some lenders have started to increase this percentage ahead of the potential changes.
In Worcester, for example, this would mean a landlord buying an average property would have to put down a hefty deposit of £115,000 in cash, equalling 61% of the market price. This is just more bad news for prospective landlords who have already been hit by April's tax clampdown that included a stamp duty surcharge of 3% on buy-to-let properties. They also face a gradual withdrawal of mortgage interest tax relief from April 2017.
The changes could work in the favour of aspiring homeowners, however – if there is less competition for new homes, and slightly more chance of securing a good deal on their chosen property.
For those buyers, the West Midlands has a wide range of brand new developments available, distributed throughout the region – including many offering government-backed Help To Buy purchase incentive schemes.
Eaton View in Nuneaton, Warwickshire (Lovell Homes)
A new phase of homes has been released at Lovell's popular Eaton View development, which offers contemporary two- and three-bedroom houses located just a short distance from the centre of Nuneaton. The location is perfect for commuters across the Midlands, offering superb access to Coventry and Birmingham. The area is home to excellent schools, including two infant / primary schools just half a mile away, and three further primary schools and Hartshill and Manor Park Community secondary schools within a mile's radius.
Earlier phases sold out quickly, so the housing developer is urging prospective buyers to get in touch now if they are interested in securing one of the newly-released properties. Up to now, 95% of the homes purchased have been sold through the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which is open both to first-time buyers and existing home owners.
Lovell field sales manager Jennie King says: “Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a second-stepper, we’ve got homes you’ll love, with properties ideal for single people and couples as well as some fantastic family homes. The success of Eaton View is a powerful statement of the renewed vitality of this area - as well as the impressive build values and design of our homes. We’re particularly pleased to have enabled a high number of first-time buyers to settle locally by moving to one of our brand-new homes.”
Prices: From £132,950
Find out more about Lovell’s current developments
Orchard Grange in Newport, Shropshire (Charles Church Development)
This new collection of just 24 three-, four- and five-bedroom homes in the lovely market town of Newport, will have beautiful countryside on its doorstep – yet will also be within walking distance of the town centre.
Newport – situated on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border – benefits from an excellent choice of local schools for all ages; close proximity to the larger centres of Telford (about seven miles) and Stafford (about 20 miles); and easy links to the M6 and M54 motorways. This makes it well placed for commuters who work in or around Wolverhampton, Birmingham or Stafford, as well as other regional hubs.
Prices: Starting from £254,950
Find out more about Orchard Grange from Charles Church Developments
Maple Gardens in Evesham, Worcestershire (Redrow Homes)
Maple Gardens will boast a pleasant, countryside location within easy reach of all Evesham's facilities, offering buyers an attractive blend of tranquillity and convenience.
Coming soon, subject to planning, the development will be situated just outside of the Evesham bypass, close to the River Avon, and near numerous outstanding schools and easy commuter connections by both road and rail. Made up of homes from Redrow's popular and very well-established Heritage Collection, each property will combine Arts and Crafts-inspired architecture with family-friendly, modern interiors that are designed for the way in which families live today.
The market town of Evesham is roughly equidistant between Worcester, Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon, and the nearest major airport, Birmingham International, is only about 40 minutes away by car via trunk roads and the M42.
Prices: From £359,995
Find out more about all Redrow’s new homes developments
Milford Place in Harborne, Birmingham (Kendrick Homes)
Coming soon, this collection of just six five-bedroom homes will be set around a new private driveway in the prosperous and sought-after suburb of Harborne in south-west Birmingham, about four miles from the city centre.
Designed to suit modern lifestyles, the homes offer generous living space, contemporary fixtures and fittings, and a high standard of finish. The specification will include ground floor underfloor heating, for example, as well as log burners, and sanitary ware by Villeroy & Boch. Nearby, Harborne High Street offers a good mix of shops and cafés, a Waitrose supermarket, and Turners, an award-winning Michelin Star Restaurant. Also close by, the Victorian-era Grove Park is home to a lake and playground, and the local area hosts numerous sports clubs and facilities such as cricket, hockey, golf and a running club.
Commuters only need to travel about three miles to reach junction 3 of the M5, affording easy access to the West Midlands conurbation and beyond.
Find out more at kendrickhomes.co.uk ; 01384 446200
Portobello Riverside near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire (Centra Living/Connells)
Built by innovative developer Centra Living, this development is set on the banks of the River Avon between Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick, offering a mix of luxurious apartments, penthouses and family homes.
In total, Portobello Riverside will incorporate 160 modern homes with light, spacious interiors, modern kitchens featuring Smeg appliances, and allocated parking spaces or a garage. Some homes also offer balconies with unspoilt views across the river.
Ian Hunt, new homes board of management partner at Connells, says: “Portobello Riverside is set in an excellent location and, with quick access to a host of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities in the towns of Leamington Spa and Warwick, these homes are a perfect option for first time buyers, buy-to-let customers and families alike.”
The development is only a short distance from Leamington Spa and Warwick train stations, from which residents will be able to reach Birmingham New Street in just 34 minutes, and London Marylebone in one hour and 20 minutes. The M40 is five miles away, and Birmingham International Airport can be reached in 40 minutes.
Prices: From around £220,000
Find out more at 01926 410422
Longworth Lane in Bartestree, Herefordshire (Flint & Cook)
This is a one-off four-bedroom barn-style property located in a village just a couple of miles east of Hereford. The property has four bedrooms, including an en suite master bedroom, a farmhouse-style kitchen with utility room, study, conservatory and large car-port.
The village is ideally located to get easily into Hereford itself, as well as to significant regional towns such as Ledbury, Leominster and Worcester.
There are four schools within a mile of home and the village is perfect for access to numerous areas of recognised special countryside, such as the Wye Valley, Malvern Hills and Brecon Beacons.
Find out more at www.flintandcook.co.uk ; 01432 355455