Buy-to-let borrowers are propping up the housing market as conventional demand for mortgages falls, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed yesterday. The Times

Lending to buy-to-let investors and other non-conventional borrowers rose by 37% in the year to August, the industry body said.

The council said the market was being underpinned by house price increases, tenant demand, rent increases and landlords’ willingness to take long-term investment decisions.

Michael Coogan, the council’s director-general, said: ‘Affordability clearly remains challenging, but there may be some relief for borrowers with expectations of an interest-rate cut, perhaps as early as November.

‘We are set to have a very segmented market for some months to come. The sub-prime sector is still facing funding constraints, while mainstream fixed-rate deals have begun to get cheaper,’ he said.

‘As lenders move to price for the risk they are taking on, mortgages are set to become more expensive for customers who have poorer credit histories.’