Attempts to regenerate Britain’s city centres are being jeopardised by absentee landlords buying up swathes of new flats, an audience at the Think 07 conference on sustainability. Financial Times

Buy to let was harming projects, said Tom Macartney, chief executive of urban regeneration company Sunderland Arc.

Macartney said that in many new housing schemes, owner-occupiers were outnumbered by investors. This made it harder to create community spirit.

'Often you get a transient community. People don’t give a shit about the community because they are moving on very quickly,' he said Mr Macartney. 'Sunderland, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, in city centres which are supposed to be vibrant, people bought just for capital growth and it is not creating sustainable communities.'

Buy-to-let borrowing hit a new high last year, as 330,300 investors borrowed £38.4bn