UK property investors stay positive despite uncertainty

A majority of UK property investors are set to expand their portfolios in 2019, remaining resilient despite a backdrop of political uncertainty and a squeeze on affordability, new research has found.

MT Finance surveyed property professionals as part of its research into the future performance of the UK property sector, and found that 80% of investors claimed that they intend on increasing their portfolio in 2019. Just 20% of respondents said they are not going to make any changes to their portfolio in 2019.

Surprisingly, none of those surveyed planned to reduce their exposure to the UK property market this year.

Of the 80% looking to expand their portfolios, 39% are looking to buy in the South East of England, while 25% are looking in Wales, followed by 13% who are seeking property in the Midlands. Just over 15% of respondents reported they would not be buying property in the UK.

None of the investors said they were interested in property in London, as they look to broaden their portfolios outside of the more expensive capital.

According to MT Finance, the forward-looking results are “encouraging”, particularly as 51% of investors revealed they are uncertain of the conditions for property investors in 2019, while 28% do not believe that conditions will improve in the coming year.

Last year was another challenging year for property investors in the UK, as Brexit negations continued and finances were squeezed by tax changes. When asked what the biggest challenge for property investors had been last year, the majority (40%) of respondents cited affordability.

Ongoing Brexit uncertainty was the second largest challenge at 32%, followed by access to funding at 17%. MT Finance highlighted that some 11% said government legislation was the biggest challenge in 2018.

Commenting on the findings, MT Finance commercial director Gareth Lewis said: “The UK property market has seen a reduction in high value purchase transactions. This is reflected in the latest data from HMRC, who revealed stamp duty receipts fell by £1bn last year.

“The results from our Q4 Property Investor Survey highlight how higher stamp duty and a lack of affordability has pushed property investors out of London, where more rental properties are vital.

“While there is continuing uncertainty, particularly over how the Brexit negotiations will unfold, UK property investors remain resilient. The fact that property professionals have revealed they will continue to invest in the UK, despite the uncertainty and numerous challenges, bodes well for the future of the market.”

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