The makeup of the modern landlord is changing, and consequently, so too is their collective attitude. Above all, they are gradually becoming younger, and more expansive.

The majority of landlords are sole property owners. A quarter own between two and four properties, and 6% own five or more. One in five of those have become a landlord in the past 12 months. Fewer of these would appear to be by chance; according to research of our own customers, we found that the number of accidental landlords has fallen from 18% in 2016 to 15% in 2017.

Portfolio size by age

Portfolio size by age

One in 25 landlords is between 18 and 24; around one in four are under 35; and almost one in three is at least 55 - the existing and established landlords.

The age profile is broadly similar for single property landlords, but interestingly skews younger for larger portfolios.

Though comprising only a quarter of the total survey pool, younger (under 35) landlords accounted for 36% of portfolios with more than one property. The average portfolio size based on age falls steadily, from 2.16 for those aged 25-34, to 1.48 between 45-54.

Similarly, the older the profile, the higher the proportion of one man bands, with three in four landlords over 45 owning just a single property. The highest concentration of landlords owning between 2 and 4 properties was in the 25-34 age bracket (34%).

Of the landlords we spoke to, the split between men and women was almost equal, but female landlords are younger still: 56% are less than 45, versus only 39% of men. A landlord under the age of 25 is more than three times more likely to be a woman.

Women generally own fewer properties. Slightly more sole property landlords, (52%), are women. We found that in general the larger the portfolio, the greater the proportion of male ownership. Men have also been landlords for longer. 48% of female landlords have entered the market in the past five years, versus 40% of men.

Expert commentary

There is a clear difference not just between the big players and the dabblers, but between the old school landlords and the new kids on the block. Existing landlords are seeing all of these new rules imposed on them and things getting harder and harder. They don’t get all the new regulations. They see 9% returns and that’s not what they’ve been used to. Those guys are probably going to get out - because it’s not worth it anymore and frankly, they can afford to. Meanwhile those new to the market are comparing that 9% to the sort of returns they’d get by putting their money in a bank account - and it’s nowhere near. They’re seeing all the market changes up front, and their vision is often clearer and more realistic. They’re seeing opportunity - and they’re building the rules and regulations into their business model. The fact is that property is still a very good business - it’s just very different to the business it was 20 years ago.

Carl Agar

It’s no surprise to me to see more women coming into the market. That’s exactly why the Female Property Alliance was set up, to support women who are using property as a route to financial independence. We see a lot of young women who don’t see how their 9 to 5 jobs can secure the lifestyle they want, and often don’t see how they can move on or up the property ladder without the alternative income of an investment. Property plays into their existing skill sets, and they’re approaching it very much from a business perspective.

Bindar Dosanjh