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Landlords: how much profit could you make by selling your buy-to-let property?

With a raft of taxation and lending changes, there are signs that some landlords are leaving the buy-to-let sector. How much money do they currently stand to make by selling up? Here, we take a look at new research showing the regional differences in how much profit landlords make when they sell their buy-to-let properties.

  • If you’re a landlord and are considering consolidating your portfolio, call Which?

    Mortgage Advisers[1] on 0808 252 7987 for impartial, expert advice on your mortgage options.

Landlord buy-to-let profits

New research by the estate agency group Countrywide has found that landlords made an average of GBP86,851 when selling a rental property in 2017. These findings are based on landlords selling up after an average of 8.7 years of property ownership. While this figure might sound high, it’s less than the GBP92,886 made by the average owner-occupier, with capital gains tax bills eating into buy-to-let profits.

Regional variations

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London investors made the biggest profits, with more than a quarter (28%) doubling their initial investment and average profits clocking in at four times those in the rest of the UK.

This is in stark contrast to North East England, where a quarter of landlords didn’t make any profit at all.

Top local authorities for landlord profits

The picture varies only slightly when we look at local authorities rather than regions. Again, London dominates the list, but there are also places in the top 10 for Maldon in Essex, where landlords enjoy average profits of over GBP100,000, and Pendle in Lancashire (GBP19,525). The lowest percentage profits were found in Selby, North Yorkshire, where investors made GBP9,703 on average.

Rents in London rising most quickly

The average cost of a new let in Great Britain increased by 1.5% in February to GBP954 a month.

For the third month in a row, London rents increased at the fastest speed to reach GBP1,686. Scotland was the only region to see rents drop, with the monthly average now standing at GBP587.

Five changes for landlords in 2018

Landlords face continuing challenges that threaten to eat into their profits in 2018.

  1. Mortgage rates increasing: the Bank of England is likely to increase the base rate[2] soon, and the closure of the Term Funding and Funding for Lending[3] schemes could push up the cost of mortgages.
  2. Tighter lending regulations: portfolio landlords (those with four or more mortgaged properties) face stricter lending criteria[4]. Rather than supplying details of overall profits, landlords must now provide details of every property in their portfolio when applying for further finance.
  3. Mortgage interest tax relief cuts: from April landlords will only be able to offset 50% of their mortgage interest[5] when filing their tax return (currently 75%).

    This figure will steadily decrease until 2020, when it will be replaced by a tax credit worth 20% of mortgage interest.

  4. Landlord licensing: an increasing number of local councils are bringing in additional and selective licensing schemes, with landlords facing big fines if they don’t adhere to the rules. Check out our table to see if you need a licence[6].
  5. Energy efficiency regulations: from April, rented properties will need to have a minimum EPC rating of E[7] – with fines of up to GBP5,000 for those who breach the rules.

You can learn more about the challenges facing landlords in our full story on 12 things buy-to-let landlords need to know in 2018[8].

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which?

Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which?

Money Compare are trading names of Which?

Financial Services Limited.


  1. ^ Which?

    Mortgage Advisers (

  2. ^ base rate (
  3. ^ Term Funding and Funding for Lending (
  4. ^ stricter lending criteria (
  5. ^ 50% of their mortgage interest (
  6. ^ Check out our table to see if you need a licence (
  7. ^ minimum EPC rating of E (
  8. ^ 12 things buy-to-let landlords need to know in 2018 (

NASA wants your help checking its satellites — so send in your cloud pics

NASA is asking all cloud gazers to snap photos of the sky and share them with the space agency via an app. The citizen science project is needed to validate data from six Earth-observing instruments on different satellites. And it’s likely to make #CloudTwitter incredibly happy.

The instruments are part of a project called Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES), which aims to better understand what roles clouds play in global climate change, among other things.

Clouds, however, are sometimes hard to identify from up high. For example, thin, wispy cirrus clouds, the most common type of high cloud, are difficult to spot against a background of snow, according to NASA. That’s why satellite observations need to be compared with observations from the ground.

Hence, the cloud observation challenge.

If you want to participate, the easiest way is to download the GLOBE Observer app, which gives step-by-step instructions to submit your cloud photos. For example, the app asks you everything from what color the sky is (from deep blue to pale blue) to what the visibility is (from unusually clear to very hazy) to, obviously, what types of clouds you see. The app has some cloud images that might help you identify the fluff in the sky, but there are also plenty of cloud ID charts online to help you pick.

And if you snap a photo at the same time that a satellite with the CERES instruments is hovering over your head (you can check this in the app, too), NASA will email you the space-based observation for you to compare.

The space agency is launching the challenge now because spring leads to some pretty interesting cloud activity.

The change of seasons from winter to summer can be very stormy, and NASA needs to double check data from one particular CERES instrument that launched in November 2017 and began taking measurements at the beginning of 2018.

You have until April 15th to submit up to 10 cloud photos per day.

If you spot the apocalyptic asperitas cloud — the latest, terrifying addition to the International Cloud Atlas — please let us know.

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