Ageing Landlords Exit, Leaving a Void in the Rental Market

February, 2024

In a noteworthy trend, ageing buy-to-let landlords are bidding farewell to the property market, creating a void that new investors are struggling to fill. Recent analysis reveals that approximately 140,000 landlords retired from the business last year, constituting nearly three-quarters of all property sales by buy-to-let investors.

The Ageing Exodus:

The trend of ageing landlords leaving the market is expected to persist, with approximately 96,000 landlords reaching the age of 65 each year across the UK. The average age of buy-to-let investors, as reported by the latest Government survey, stands at 59, with only 15 percent under the age of 45. Many of these departing investors were early adopters of the first buy-to-let mortgages introduced in 1996.

Ageing investors, who entered the market during a period of rapid growth between 1996 and 2007, are now increasingly opting to sell their properties and cash out. In 2023, nearly half of the homes sold by landlords were purchased at least 15 years ago, signalling a rising trend since 2018 when it was just one third.

Challenges for New Entrants:

The shrinking pool of rental properties is not being replenished by new landlords entering the market. This reluctance is attributed to several factors, including less lucrative profit margins and a series of unfavourable tax and regulatory changes since 2016.

Higher mortgage rates over the past two years, escalating from 3 percent to 5.62 percent for the average two-year fixed mortgage, have also contributed to diminishing profit margins for newer investors. The financial burden, coupled with a 3 percent stamp duty surcharge on second property purchases, restrictions on offsetting mortgage interest against income tax, and higher capital gains tax bills, has made the prospect less appealing.

Two decades on from the birth of buy-to-let mortgages in the late 1990s, early investors are starting to sell up. This means that demographics alone will push up the number of landlord sales over the next five years to reach a new peak

While tax and regulatory changes since 2016 haven't triggered a mass sell-off, they have dampened the enthusiasm of the next generation of landlords. Hampered by challenges, millennial’s, who have faced difficulties entering the property market, are finding it increasingly difficult to consider buy-to-let investments.


As the landscape of the rental property market undergoes a transformation, the departure of aging landlords and the hesitancy of new entrants create challenges that require thoughtful consideration. The evolving dynamics call for collaboration among industry stakeholders to navigate these changes and ensure the sustainability of the rental property market in the years to come.

Recent Articles