I often read this forum as a way of measuring the sentiment towards landlords (a term that I hate by the way). I can understand the frustration of people against landlords and the dysfunctional housing market. Many property owners are fortunate only by the date of their birth and the timing when they first bought a house.
The hatred towards landlords is truly palpable on this forum and TBH it's probably not worth the stress of posting but I feel that sometimes a little balance is needed.
I have indeed used some finance through the use of BTL mortgages to finance my position but have always adopted a risk averse attitude towards this and endeavoured to reduce my debts as soon as possible. I am not over-leveraged for a number of reasons -
I don't use letting agents which saves 10 to 12% fees.
I have taught myself a number of new skills in plumbing and general maintenance. I can fit kitchens, bathrooms, plastering , fencing etc. It's a full-time job.
I have bought properties that have needed a lot of repair or needed redeveloping.
I bought and sold at the right times.
I keep a careful eye on finances.
Timing is the of course the most important factor but no-one has a crystal ball.
The difference between a landlord who owns outright and one who is highly indebted might be measured in hours of sleep over the next few months or years. I think we have all come across those highly indebted a88holes who do have a superiority complex because a bank has lent them money to buy a rental property or properties. This is IMO doubly irresponsible on behalf of the banks and the landlord. The market has become far too bloated and is an accident waiting to happen.
I believe that nearly a third of mortgage approvals are now in the BTL market but 40% of all house purchases this year were made in cash, so an exact estimate of its impact is difficult. It must have an impact and I think that it is right for the B of E, chancellor and other institutions to be worried about this.
The government has been instrumental in fueling market demand without addressing supply issues.
I haven't purchased a house for a number of years. Is the system unstable - yes. Are highly leveraged landlords fools - perhaps depending on when they decide to exit the market. With respect to your last point, of course being highly leveraged in the present market is very dangerous to everyone involved and should rightly be curbed. Is it a Ponzi scheme - looks that way now.
Perhaps the biggest question is what the feck will the government do about the housing shortage?
Finally I would add that renting rather than buying is appropriate for many people.
PS Minsky seems popular now since the financial crises and the movement towards more Keynsian ideologies. Unfortunately, a trait of economics is that it is fantastic as a tool for explaining why things have happened but pretty crap as a predictor.