About two in three buy-to-let investors are confident about the future of the sector in 2018, despite increasing tax burdens, stamp duty on second properties and uncertainty over Brexit. According to Shawbrook Bank research, 65% of investors are confident about their property portfolio for this year. In this year’s buy-to-let barometer, just 14% of landlords have concerns about their portfolio’s performance.

Landlords cite good tenant demand along with high yields for reasons to be cheerful, with 21% of landlords saying that tenant demand has increased in the 12 months up to 2018. Although they are remaining optimistic, they are also being realistic. As well as the challenges that Brexit could bring, the UK is also experiencing fairly lacklustre growth. Confidence in the economy is down from 47% last year to 34% this year, while concerns for the future have risen from 33% to 42% this year. Despite this, landlords are still optimistic and 39% are intending to invest in more buy-to-let properties this year. The most popular regions for investment are in the North West and South East. The North West has been singled out as an area which is ripe for investment because of its lower property prices, good yields and high demand, especially in university areas.

Shawbrook Bank Commercial Mortgages Managing Director Karen Bennett said the buy-to-let market is showing resilience. She said that property continues to be an excellent investment for professional landlords who have a good investment strategy behind them. She feels there are challenges ahead for landlords, even though the reasons for investing in buy-to-lets remain strong. There is also the additional impact of the Prudential Regulation Authority requirements which change the way mortgage applications are underwritten for buy-to-let investors with four or more properties in their portfolio. These mean lenders will look at assets, liabilities, total amount of mortgage borrowing, total income and property investment experience when weighing up whether to grant a mortgage. This means it is important for landlords to keep on top of their finances and paperwork so they have the full facts at their disposal.

Of course, landlords can automate a lot of their administrative work using apps and software, which frees up more time for meeting potential tenants or looking at investment properties. This can simplify the book-keeping, files and all paperwork, and can include alerts to let them know when contracts are due, payments are overdue or new certificates, such as gas certificates, need to be issued.

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