Published: 7 March 2019
Even though recent times have seen a succession of changes to the buy-to-let landscape, all of which have had the effect of making life more challenging for property investors, the fact still remains that the UK property market, including the rental property market, is based on very solid fundamentals and hence remains of interest to investors.
In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by MT Finance, no fewer than four fifths of property investors actually planned to expand their portfolios over the course of 2019. Here are some key points from that survey.
This in itself hardly qualifies as news, but what may come as a surprise is that of the 80% of property investors who stated their intention to purchase new property in 2019, no fewer than 39% stated that they intended to buy in the south east of England, but not London (none of those surveyed intended to buy in London).
This may be a reflection of the fact that the slowdown in the Thames Valley area has made it more feasible for investors to buy property there, as long as they stay outside the capital itself, where prices are at their highest. By contrast, only 13% plan to buy in the Midlands, even though this has become one of the UK’s hottest property-investment destinations, with 25% planning to buy in Wales and 16% overseas.
Almost 48% of those surveyed advised that they had purchased commercial property in 2018, while just under 43% of respondents advised that they had purchased residential property in 2018. While this differential is, admittedly, fairly small, it will be interesting to see if it turns out to be an early indication that many property investors are now actively looking for commercial property investments in preference to navigating the heavily-regulated buy-to-let property investment landscape, or at least, looking to divide their portfolio between commercial and residential property, rather than focusing purely on the residential market as they might have done in times past.
When it comes to concerns over Brexit, perhaps the biggest surprise is that it was mentioned by only 32% of investors, coming in second to affordability which was mentioned by 40% of respondents. Accessing funding and government legislation were the third- and fourth-biggest challenges, mentioned by 17% and 11% of investors respectively.
A majority (51%) of respondents stated that they were uncertain of the conditions for property investors in 2019, while 28% said that they believed conditions would not improve in the coming year. Perhaps all of the aforementioned points could be wrapped up in the statement that, at this point in time, nobody really knows what Brexit will bring or how the UK (government and people) will respond to it, but the fact remains that the UK has a long tradition of both resilience and adaptability, which, coupled with an extensive population of "natural renters" (students and mobile young-adult professionals), bodes well for the long-term health of property investment.
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