Where are the best locations for UK buy-to-let?


Property investors are always in search of the next top UK buy-to-let hotspot, where future market growth combined with strong yields will reap the best rewards.

There are a range of different trackers and indices out there that can be useful for property investors and landlords looking for their next successful purchase.

Analysing house price trends can be a useful way of securing an investment with great future capital gains prospects. Equally, monitoring average rental values as well as tenant demand can ensure you achieve the best monthly rental yields, which is an important factor for an investor’s long-term gains.

Simply Business, which provides landlord insurance, has released a report analysing UK buy-to-let locations based on the increase in the number of insurance policies taken out by landlords. This is a measure of appetite in each area, showing where some of the hottest markets might be found.

London isn’t the top dog

The research found that the West Midlands city of Birmingham has experienced the biggest growth in property investors targeting the area. It registered an impressive 14.6% rise in landlord insurance policies in 2021 compared to 2020.

Birmingham has been touted as one of the most exciting cities in the UK in terms of the level of investment, regeneration and economic growth it is experiencing. This directly impacts the need and demand for housing, as growing numbers of inhabitants as well as businesses are attracted to the area.

Bristol was next on the list for growth in the number of landlords operating there, with a 12.7% rise since 2020. The city is often a favourite among London-leavers, as it contains much of the appeal of city living in the south at a more reasonable price tag than the capital.

Fourth in the list was Leicester (11.8% growth), closely followed by Manchester (11.4%), Liverpool (10.8%) and Edinburgh (10.7%). London was then seventh on the list, where landlord numbers taking out insurance has risen by 10.3%.

Greater rental yields in UK buy-to-let

Obtaining a property at the most competitive price, coupled with a high-demand location that ensures strong rents from tenants, is one of the best ways to maximise any property investment.

Historically, London has always been seen as one of the safest bets for UK buy-to-let investors, but this is no longer the case. While there is still a strong market there, landlords are finding that better yields – and capital appreciation – can be found in regional cities.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, says: “The pandemic has contributed to a reshaping of the UK rental market. With rising house prices and an increase in average rent, there have been slower levels of growth in buy-to-let investment across the capital.

“Instead, many landlords are now looking to other areas – particularly those with a high student population – where they can attract a greater rental yield.”

Supporting landlords in 2022 and beyond

As homeownership continues to be out of reach for many, the role of landlords and the private rented sector will become even more important. A lack of supply continues to push up house prices, creating a barrier for some would-be first-time buyers.

As a result, UK buy-to-let landlords provide even more crucial accommodation for thousands of households. While many argue that government policy has been largely against the sector in recent years, there are a growing number of calls from the industry to make the market more appealing to landlords.

Thomas adds: “Contributing over £16 billion annually, landlords are a vital part of our economy. What’s more, the 2.6 million landlords across the UK provide accommodation to over 4.4 million households, so it’s encouraging to see growth in buy-to-let investment across all corners of the UK.”

“We can expect this to carry through 2022 as the country continues its recovery after Covid-19 and landlords look to make their next investment.”

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Where are the best locations for UK buy-to-let?


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