Soaring tenant demand pins Midlands as buy-to-let hotspot

As conditions for landlords get tougher in places like London, more are looking to the Midlands to expand their portfolios.

Buy-to-let landlords across the UK are reassessing how best to make a profit with the onset of Section 24 regulations affecting tax bills, along with lending affordability rules becoming stricter and the potential for mortgage interest rate rises, but the market is continuing to diverge across the country.

While in London, the past three months have seen more landlords scaling back their property portfolios than adding to them, partly as a result of the city’s stagnating house prices, things are very different in the Midlands and the north.

New research by BDRC on behalf of lender Paragon has revealed that 42% of landlords in the East Midlands have seen tenant demand rise recently, while 33% in the West Midlands said the same – compared to the UK average of 24%. As Generation Rent increasingly flock to places such as Nottingham and Birmingham, where the jobs markets are vastly improving, landlords who expand their property portfolios there are likely to make greater gains.

Midlands landlords are optimistic

Rental yields in the regions are also performing well, at an average 6.7% in the East Midlands and 6.2% in the West Midlands, and with property prices there also expected to exceed the national average, buy-to-let is thriving in these areas. By contrast, 16% of landlords in London who were surveyed said they had recently sold off some of their property in the capital.

John Heron, managing director of mortgages at Paragon, commented: “These findings highlight a big regional difference in landlord experience and buying habits.

“Some central London landlords appear to be scaling back a little while landlords in the Midlands continue to invest on the back of a positive outlook.”

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released by Birmingham Live, more Londoners relocated to Birmingham than anywhere else in the country last year, with the city attracting 7,620 people from the capital. Compared to the number of people who moved in the opposite direction from Birmingham to London, at 6,960 the capital lost 660 people to the Midlands city – almost two per day.

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