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The housing market remains one of the most popular asset classes in which to invest, and a recent survey revealed that optimism outweighs pessimism for UK property investment right now.

Investors in UK properties have been described as “bullish” in a new piece of research, which found that 16% of adults surveyed by specialist lender Market Financial Solutions own some form of UK property investment. This includes buy-to-let property, holiday rentals and commercial units.

This amounts to around one in six adults opting for UK property investment for an income, whether that be a continuous monthly return through rental yields, a future capital gain (often for retirement), or both.

What’s more, Market Financial Solutions also revealed that of those that own a UK property investment – or multiple – more than half (53%) described themselves as confident in the outlook for their investment. This compares with only 14% who said they were pessimistic, with the other respondents somewhere in between.

Across the UK housing market in general, positivity has been on the up since the start of 2024, with a more stable economic outlook and expectations for lower interest rates and the continued decrease of mortgage rates, which have impacted the market.

A number of indices and surveys have found that demand is building up momentum in the property market, while more sellers are also listing properties than this time last year, increasing activity levels. In terms of UK property investment for buy-to-let, the rental market remains extremely fast-paced due to a shortage supply in some areas.

Factors affecting UK property investment this year

While Market Financial Solutions described the general sentiment as bullish, the things that were holding back positivity for other investors included worries about the fact that the UK had entered a recession at the end of 2023, which was a concern for 56% of respondents.

However, a similar number of people surveyed (54%) said that they expect interest rates to come down this year, which should have a positive impact on the property market. A further 38% believe that it will be easier to manage their UK property investment or investments this year compared with 2023.

Data released by Moneyfactscompare last week revealed that buy-to-let mortgage rates had reached their lowest point since mid-2022. While some uncertainty has returned to the mortgage market in recent days, most landlords have found rates moving in a more positive direction recently.

When asked what affects people’s investment decisions, 57% of respondents said that macroeconomic indicators, such as interest rates and inflation, “significantly” influence their course of action. Any positive movement in this respect is therefore likely to boost activity in the housing market.

Just over half (51%) of those who are currently active in the UK property investment space said that they closely monitor trends within the property market to inform their investment decisions; while 51% place a high importance on forecasts such as house prices and rents when considering changes to their property portfolio.

The general election could have an impact

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions, said: “First and foremost, it’s notable that one in six UK adults holds some form of property investment, underlining the lasting appeal of bricks and mortar among retail and sophisticated investors alike. What’s more, we can clearly see that optimism far outweighs pessimism among property investors at present.

“Quite rightly, though, investors are evidently mindful of the challenges impacting their property portfolios. Concerns over the now-confirmed onset of a recession loom large, while escalating regulation – particularly in the BTL space – is another concern.

“It will be intriguing to see how the upcoming general election either eases or exacerbates these worries. As a lender, we know that people dislike uncertainty. So, greater clarity around the state of the economy and the future direction of housing and investment policy would undoubtedly help people better manage their investment strategies in the short, medium and long term.”

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