Property professionals are set to expand their portfolios in 2019, despite a backdrop of uncertainty and squeeze on affordability.

Some 80 per cent of investors said they plan to increase their portfolios this year while 20 per cent said they are not making any changes in 2019, according to the poll by MT Finance.

Of those looking to expand their portfolios, 39 per cent are looking to buy in the South East of England, 25 per cent in Wales, followed by 13 per cent in the Midlands.

Only 16 per cent revealed that would not be buying property in the UK and none are set to buy in London which is currently considered too expensive.

The firm says that the results are encouraging especially as 51 per cent of respondents revealed they are uncertain of the conditions for property investors in 2019 and 28 per cent believe conditions will not improve in the coming year.

It points out that overall, 2018 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 some 40 per cent of respondents said affordability.

Ongoing Brexit uncertainty was the second biggest challenge at 32 per cent, followed by accessing funding at 17 per cent while 11 per cent said Government legislation was the biggest challenge in 2018.

"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 £1 billion last year," said Gareth Lewis, commercial director of MT Finance.

"The results from our fourth quarter 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."