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Rightmove achieves busiest-ever first quarter for leads to agents

There was a significant drop in interest in purchasing buy to let properties in March as the April 1 stamp duty surcharge deadline loomed, according to data released by Rightmove.

The portal says it recorded its busiest ever first quarter of a year for enquiries to estate agents, the intentions of buyers shifted in March with the number of people saying they were planning to buy a property to let dropping 27 per cent compared to the same month last year. 

This contrasts with the increase in interest seen from investors between December and February (24 per cent up year-on-year) as they tried to make last minute purchases before April’s additional homes three per cent surcharge deadline.

“What’s not yet clear is if this will only turn out to be a short-term pause. It could be that some investors are waiting until the tax changes have some time to bed in before they review their business and continue to make purchases” says Sam Mitchell, Rightmove’s head of lettings.

Buy to let investors not deterred by the tax changes and looking for the best yields could consider buying in areas in the north such as Durham and Merseyside.

Rightmove says the top four locations for best yields are all in these counties, with Peterlee in Durham highest at 9.1 per cent, followed by Bootle in Merseyside at 8.6 per cent. In third place is the neighbouring town of Birkenhead offering a yield of 7.8 per cent and fourth is Stanley in Durham at 7.7 per cent.

“These areas where you can buy a two bed property for around £60,000 to £70,000 seem to offer a sound investment as long as the demand is there from tenants, so it’s worth speaking to local agents about what the rental market is like” says Mitchell.

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