Belfast Telegraph

Market 'reacting to buy-to-let reforms'

By Margaret Canning

Houses used for student lets are going on the market in growing numbers as a crackdown on buy-to-let takes effect, it's been claimed.

It comes as eight properties on Eglantine Avenue in south Belfast go on the market for £525,000 in total, along with four apartments on Ireton Street for £250,000.

Economist Andrew Webb said investors were reacting to ex-Chancellor George Osborne's buy-to-let reforms and to a trend for universities and developers to build modern accommodation in Belfast city centre.

Mr Webb said Mr Osborne last year launched a "severe" raid on landlords when he scaled back the ability to offset mortgage interest against rental income. "Now, if you are a higher rate tax payer, the new tax will wipe out your gains if the mortgage interest is 75% or more of rental income," he added.

And he said developments of student accommodation which were winning planning permission in the city centre presented a "very compelling offer".

"This higher end accommodation really matters for the universities as they have set themselves very ambitious targets on attracting international students who demand quality accommodation."

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