Not only that, but 63% expect the whole sector to grow over the same period. So, although 67% expect increased competition, they expect there to be enough business to go around.
So where is this increase going to come from?
Tax changes, stamp duty increases and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) issues have dampened the buy-to-let market. Volumes are down.
However, people still need to find a home and for many, the only way that they can manage to live where they wish to, is to rent.
Countrywide expects there to be six million tenants of investor-owned homes by 2025.
Many of the landlords will be large corporations or institutions, but there is still a place for holders of small portfolios or owners of mortgage-free properties.
Many private property owners are either considering selling property or transferring property into corporate ownership.
In the short run, there will be stamp duty to pay and CGT, but, taking a long-term view, this may be the way forward.
This is not suitable for everyone and owners should take tax advice, but where it is advantageous, bridging finance can be used to cover the short-term costs before long-term finance is secured.
Bridging to develop
Lenders are increasingly looking elsewhere, particularly at providing funding for smaller property developers who are unable to get facilities from high street lenders.
Development funding by ASTL members may currently be relatively small at around £800m per year of bridging development loans plus £400m+ of non-bridging development loans.
However, this figure is bound to grow as developers appreciate the flexibility of bridging finance and provide repeat business.
Bridging is also increasingly being used to provide funding for non-property investment purposes, as intermediaries appreciate that property assets can be used to provide short-term funding solutions.
There is some concern at the ending of a long period of property price growth, so lenders by and large will resist the inevitable calls from intermediaries for higher loan-to-values as valuers become more cautious.
The commercial market is also more risky than in recent years, particularly the retail sector, but lenders who have experience will generally avoid pitfalls.
An interesting year lies ahead as we move towards the end of Brexit negotiations. Let us hope that all’s well that ends well.