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UK property investors remain upbeat in spite of ongoing uncertainty

A recent poll suggests that the majority of UK property investors are set to grow their portfolios in 2019, despite a backdrop of uncertainty (mostly caused by Brexit) and a squeeze on affordability.  

As part of its research into the future performance of the UK property sector, MT Finance surveyed property professionals from across the country, with 80% saying they plan to expand their portfolios in the year ahead while 20% said they won’t make any changes.

None of those questioned said they plan to reduce their exposure to the UK property market in 2019 – a sign that confidence in the sector remains strong.

Of the 80% looking to increase their portfolios, 39% said they are looking to purchase in the South East of England. Some 25% pinpointed Wales, followed by 13% who said the Midlands. By contrast, 16% said they would not be buying property in the UK.

None of the respondents said they were looking to purchase in London, with investors eager to broaden their portfolios outside of the high-value capital – to locations where homes are not as prohibitively expensive.

The fact that investors are looking ahead to 2019 in a positive, forward-thinking mood is even more remarkable when you consider that 51% of respondents revealed they are uncertain of the conditions for property investors in the next 12 months, while 28% believe conditions will not improve in the coming year.

The research also asked property investors to name the biggest challenges they faced in 2018. With 2018 proving to be a challenging year for UK property investors, as finances were further squeezed by tax changes and Brexit negotiations led to chronic uncertainty, it was little surprise that affordability (40%) was cited as the biggest obstacle faced last year.

The second biggest challenge, equally unsurprisingly, was ongoing Brexit uncertainty (32%), followed by accessing funding (17%). Meanwhile, 11% cited new government legislation as their biggest challenge in 2018.

The poll surveyed 101 respondents. During 2018, 48 purchased residential properties as investments and 43 respondents bought commercial properties, while 21 said they bought foreign properties as investments.

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

He added: “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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