David Whittaker: B2L to eclipse £30bn in 2015

Speaking at the Paragon Great Buy-To-Let Debate held at One George Street, Westminster, Whittaker told fellow panellists and a packed audience: “We’re putting our hat in the ring at £30-31bn this year, which is still 12% growth.

“That’s a really good figure to go for.

“A year of sustained growth between 10-12% would be good outcome – we should welcome it and not seek to go mad.”

In 2014 buy-to-let lending increased by 32% from the year before, as by value lending reached £27.4bn according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Whittaker added: “A year of 32% growth would dislocate the proportion of buy-to-let with the residential market as a whole.

“It would take it up to 16% plus and to me that’s a very high figure.

“Landlords are members of the community at large; they are not unique animals outside the community at large.

“If we are predicting a slight slowing up and reaching a plateau in the main market, so I don’t think we will gallop ahead.”

Patrick Bamford, sales, commercial and business development director at Genworth, who was in the audience, put his own hat in the ring, predicting growth between 15-20% in 2015.

Michael Ball, professor of urban and property and economics at Henley Business School, University of Reading, who was also on the panel, said: “What you would expect in the near future is much more growth in all sectors of the housing market, particularly in terms of transactions.

"So I would expect continued growth in the future."

But he added: “The downturns and worries that come around within this context are around massive political uncertainty with an election coming up.

“What will the outcomes of that be not just on the UK housing market but for the UK as a whole?

“The second thing is interest rates will eventually rise.

“There’s an inverse relationship to house prices, so if interest rates are raised substantially then you expect house prices to adjust.”