The buy-to-let mortgage market needs greater support from the government to enable private landlords to continue providing housing options for those looking to rent in the current economic climate, it has been suggested.

According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla), the availability of housing stock for the population could be significantly affected if the buy-to-let market is damaged by the impact of the recession.

The call comes after 4,000 buy-to-let properties were repossessed last year, according to data published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Since the onset of the credit crunch, the number of buy-to-let mortgage products on the market has also fallen amid liquidity problems among the UK's financial institutions.

Mr Potter warned: "Without buy-to-let stock coming on to the market, then we will face a housing shortfall in certain parts of the country that threatens our ability to accommodate the UK's ever-increasing population."

Arla last week encouraged the government to extend its support to tenants when repossession activity is taking place.ADNFCR-2002-ID-19042297-ADNFCR

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