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The average annual void period for buy-to-let landlords has dropped to its lowest level since 2002.

This is the latest positive news for the buoyant sector following recent reports that new buy-to-let mortgage valuations jumped by 41% in February.

The average void has fallen to just 2.4 weeks this year as tenant demand remains high, according to the latest landlord research by Paragon Mortgages.

This is down from 2.6 weeks in the last quarter of 2014 and 2.8 weeks just one year earlier, marking an annual drop of 14%.

The specialist buy-to-let lender, which has surveyed a panel of landlord customers for 13 years, said the average void period is the lowest since the survey began.

John Heron, director of mortgages, said: “Void periods have been consistently low for some time, which is not unexpected when you also look at what landlords are telling us about the level of demand from tenants.

“In our survey for the first quarter of 2015, 42% of landlords said tenant demand was either growing or booming and 54% felt demand was stable.”

Heron says the housing market is seeing a sharp shift towards living in the private rented sector. “This is supported by the figures released this month by the English Housing Survey which show 4.4 million households are now privately rented, compared with 3.9 million households in the social rented sector.

“This change in housing dynamics appears to be a continuing and long-term trend.”

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