Central London is fast becoming the place for wealthy investors to buy, overtaking New York in the prime central property stakes. Elsewhere in the UK, however, a host of unexpected property hot spots are beginning to emerge. In fact, property demand outside of the capital is up 5 per cent since the second quarter of 2015.
Commuter hub Bexley is leading the charge, where demand for property is at a whopping 77 per cent, according to recent supply and demand statistics. In fact, apart from a few pockets of demand in central London, it is properties in the commuter belt and further afield that are experiencing the highest demand. Here are the top ten areas buy-to-let investors should be looking at:
1. Bexley (77 per cent)
2. Watford (72 per cent)
3. Bristol (71 per cent)
4. Reading (68 per cent)
5. Barking (65 per cent)
6. Sutton (64 per cent)
7. Cambridge (67 per cent)
8. Medway (64 per cent)
9. Havering (64 per cent)
10. Brentwood (64 per cent)
Meanwhile, data from mortgage lender Halifax indicates that UK home sales are at an 18 month high, with mortgage approvals on the rise while interest rates remain low for the time being. House prices continue to fluctuate month-on-month, but Halifax advise that monthly data is “volatile” and the overall trend is still encouraging. Figures from Nationwide and the Bank of England would certainly seem to support Halifax’s assertion that the housing market is being boosted by an increasing number of mortgage approvals.
“Increasing demand is combining with very low supply to drive robust underlying house price growth,” says economist Martin Ellis. “There is little reason to expect any fundamental shift in the key market drivers over the coming months.”
There is still a North / South divide in the UK property market, with differences in house prices as high as £150,000. But some of the biggest climbers in the sector over the last year are Northern towns, including Chester, where demand has rocketed by 164 per cent in 12 months. County Durham, Huddersfield and Hull have also enjoyed a significant growth in buyer interest.
Prospective landlords have had little to smile about since the unveiling of George Osborne’s industry-crippling budget earlier this year, so it is good to see optimism in the UK property market at large – with a little luck, this will trickle down into the private rental sector.
George Spencer is CEO at Rentify.