The controversial couple, who began letting as buy-let properly kicked off back in the 1990s, have been trying to sell of their properties, with number around 1,000, since the financial crash of 2008 and have now reached an agreement with “a consortium of buyers to sell their entire portfolio for a figure exceeding £250 million.”
The ëconsortium ‘ has been suspected to be made of “Arab investors ñ both wealthy individuals and institutions”, as the Financial Times reported, though in an interview with the Guardian, Wilson maintained that the buyers are “not of any one specific nationality.”
Wilson also made sure to make it clear that he ‘d “taken steps to ensure the property prices in Ashford, Maidstone and Folkestone are not adversely affected”, explain that house prices in the areas where he owns properties (and indeed across the UK) have been 2rising due to the shortage of properties on the market.”
The Wilsons, who at one point were paying some £350,000 a month in mortgage repayments, have been a subject of controversy during their tenure as landlords. In particular, they came under fire in 2014 when they issued 200 eviction notices to various tenants who were, at the time, on housing benefits. Fergus Wilson cited as his reasoning the fact that those particular tenants were unable to afford to pay their rent and that he preferred tenants who were less at risk of defaulting.
In a statement that may be remembered as much for its confusing use of pronouns as for its actual content, Mr Wilson said: “He is sorry to be giving up but common sense must prevail. He is 67 years old and getting no younger.
“Buy to let became an obsession for Fergus Wilson. He is a self-confessed BTL junkie” he said, before switching to the first person, “Each day I must have my daily fix. I look up prices and say to myself what a lucky man I am.”
Defending his decision to sell up and get out of the buy-let game, he said that “it ‘s been a happy, happy ride” and described his entire career as “a hobby that ‘s got out of control” ñ a very profitable hobby that is.
He also was very open about how the timing of his foray into the buy-let market allowed him to achieve the level of success that he achieved, saying that “you couldn ‘t do now what I didÖ If I was starting again I ‘d be pushed to get a 75% loan as a landlord.”
His move comes shortly after George Osborne announced a 3% surcharge on stamp duty for buy-let properties in an attempt to curb the ever growing number of private landlords ñ a number that had doubled in the last 14 years to reach 1.4 million. The surcharge is part of a grander plan to boost home ownership and, slowly but surely moderate house price inflation.
Various analysts and estate agents, including Halifax, are predicting that from 2016 onwards, house price growth is expected to slow down.