Buy-to-let gaining strength

Given the fact that property prices in Northern Ireland have continued to remain high, solicitors are more likely to see commercial property investors than new buyers for conveyancing services.

According to the quarterly index from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla), low-cost loans mean that more than half of landlords say they will add more properties to their portfolios in the next year.

Some 54 per cent of buy-to-let investors said they expected to invest in more buy-to-let properties in the next year, while 90 per cent revealed they have no intention of selling up even if house prices fall.

However, if the government passed legislation which required landlords to pay more tax on residential property investment, meaning that mortgage interest was not an allowable business expense, 42 per cent of landlords admitted they would be unsure whether their investment was worth it.

Meanwhile 28 per cent said outright that they would sell some of their portfolio, while ten per cent would get out of the game altogether.

Ian Potter, Arla operations manager, said: "With the institutions less interested in the private rented sector and private equity companies not filling the gap, the loss of any private individual investors would seriously affect the rental market and severely curtail choice in housing.

"Private buy-to-let investors have refinanced the Private Rented Sector and restored social acceptability to renting."

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