The continuing slump in house prices could force many landlords into negative equity, industry experts have warned.

Credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) believes that the repossession rate in the buy-to-let sector could go up significantly over the next few months.

This, it said, is because certain property types are witnessing an above-average rate of price depreciation, including those which are highly popular with rental investors.

Kate Livesey, an analyst at S&P, commented: "In a downturn we believe that the current stock of buy-to-let loans will carry higher credit risk than the stock of loans to prime owner-occupiers."

The organisation added that the number of repossessions among those with buy-to-let mortgages is higher than that for those with standard owner-occupier loans.

According to recent figures from Nationwide, the average price of a house in the UK fell to £158,872 in October 2008

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