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Best Places to Invest in UK Property 2022 | Buy to Let Market Overview

By Surrenden Invest | November 15, 2021

Best Places to Invest in UK Property 2022 | Buy to Let Market Overview

Over the past five years, the UK government has introduced several measures that have impacted the buy to let market, including reduced tax relief available to property investors and second-home buyers. On the surface, conditions like these might have made buy to let property more complicated for some, however the fundamentals of the market – such as demand for rental property – remained strong.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of households in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) increased from 2.8 million in 2007 to 4.5 million today. And with projections suggesting that 1.2 million new households will be created over the next five years, demand for PRS property is set to continue to grow.
To help investors capitalise on the rising demand for rental property, Surrenden Invest will outline the best places to invest in UK property in 2022 in this feature, by highlighting where is expected to provide investors with the best rental yields and the strongest capital growth potential.

Building on a positive 2021

Despite the pandemic, overall, 2021 proved an extremely positive year for property investors, with figures published throughout the year showing rising rental yields and steady house price growth.
As far as values are concerned, the latest UK House Price Index for August 2021(released in October) showed that average asking prices of sales agreed in England were 3.2% higher in August than in July 2021. Over the course of the year, prices increased by 9.8% and the average property value reached £280,921.
Savills also published separate data predicting UK house price growth climb by an average of 3.5% in 2022, with mainstream UK house prices expected to rise 13.1% by 2026.
Since the country reopened, the rebound in housing market activity is an encouraging trend, particularly for investors looking for signs that UK property will continue to provide opportunities for capital gains in the coming years. 2021 was also an excellent year for rental properties, with demand rising across the UK – especially since the country started to open up following the various lockdown measures introduced by the government.
Currently, rental prices in the UK average £1,061 per calendar month (pcm), excluding London from the equation, and the average rent is £891pcm. However, despite the pandemic, rental prices have climbed by 7.5% across the UK as a whole over the last 12-months.
Those considering investing in UK property should certainly see the last year as a triumph for the property market. Even in the face of challenging economic conditions, the property sector continues to show its resilience and offers investors an excellent chance of achieving good returns in the coming years.
But where should investors buy to achieve the best rental returns in 2022?

3.20%

Average asking prices of sales agreed in England were 3.2% higher in August than in July 2021

£280,921

Over the course of the year, prices increased by 9.8% and the average property value reached £280,921

£1,061

Rental prices in the UK average £1,061 per calendar month (pcm) excluding London

7.5%+

Despite the pandemic, rental prices have climbed by 7.5% across the UK as a whole over the last 12-months

Best UK buy to let areas for 2022

To help property investors make an informed decision, Surrenden Invest has outlined the best buy to let areas for 2022. As mentioned earlier in this feature, when it comes to capital growth potential, the UK average in 2022 stands at 3.5%, with the growth rate in London lagging behind at just 2%.
According to Savills, the north-south divide will continue to close over the next five years, seeing house price growth excel across the North of England and the Midlands, whereas values in the South and South East will rise – albeit at a slower pace.
The potential for price growth looks particularly positive for Northern Powerhouse cities like Manchester and Liverpool.  The wider North West region is expected to see values climb by 4.5% in 2022 and by 18.8% in the five years 2026. Interestingly, Savills expects the same rate of growth across Yorkshire and the Humber.
Location
2022
2022-2026
(5-year cumulative)
North West
4.5%
18.8%
Yorkshire & the Humber
4.5%
18.8%
North East
4%
17.6%
East Midlands
4%
15.9%
West Midlands
4%
15.9%
South West
3.5%
13.1%
South East
3%
10.4%
East of England
3%
10.4%
London
2%
5.6%
UK
3.5%
13.1%
Source: Savills Research.
Investors looking towards regional property hotspots including Birmingham, Leeds, and Newcastle can also expect to secure higher than average returns across 2022 and over the next five years, with values in the North East expected to increase 17.6% by 2026 and 15.9% in the West Midlands. When compared to the UK average of 13.1%, it is clear that regional property hotspots are most likely to deliver property investors with the best capital gains potential.

Best rental yields

Throughout 2021, the UK’s best buy to let areas were regional cities. Rightmove cited the effects of ”boomerang” tenants – those going back to cities following the easing of lockdown restrictions – attributing the rising rental costs.
A report from Rightmove revealed that demand for rental accommodation helped push rental growth in some regions to double-digit increases year-on-year, with rents climbing by 10.3% in the East Midlands and by 10% North West.
For buy to let investors, positive rental growth can be seen across regional rental hotspots, with average rents climbing by 8.4% in the East of England, 8% in Yorkshire and the Humber, and 6.9% in the West Midlands. When compared to London, where rents increased by 2.7% year on year, regional property investments are most likely to deliver the most robust return on investment over the coming years.
When it comes to demand, Birmingham and the West Midlands saw the highest tenant interest, with the amount of new prospective renters reaching a record high in September, according to Propertymark.
Buyers looking towards future demand should consider tenants affordability. With regional cities already attracting higher levels of students and young professionals than London, prime locations with younger populations, including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, offer strong rental yield growth over the next five years.

10.3%

Rents climbing by 10.3% in the East Midlands and by 10% North West.

16.5%

Reports expect rental costs to rise 16.5% by 2024 in Manchester, 15.9% in Birmingham, 14.8% in Liverpool, and 14.2% in Leeds.

8.4%

Positive rental growth can be seen across regional rental hotspots, with average rents climbing by 8.4% in the East of England

As JLL outlines in its 2020 UK City Centre Forecasts, “Manchester is forecast to see both the highest sales price and rental growth of any UK city over the next five years.” The report expects rental costs to rise 16.5% by 2024 (5-year cumulative) in Manchester, 15.9% in Birmingham, 14.8% in Liverpool, and 14.2% in Leeds.
Investors considering Northern Powerhouse cities may achieve some of the highest rental growth available on the market.
Encouragingly, the demand for new, high-quality rental properties continues to remain strong across the country for property investors and tenants alike. As a result, there is a steady flow of tenants who require properties in locations that offer a good quality of life, excellent transport links, and access to local amenities.
If you are looking to maximise returns from your buy to let property in 2022, keeping an eye on market trends, including tenant demand and regional growth, will likely steer you in the right direction.

Skip London, but consider London commuter belt property

Over the last 12 months, the regions have outpaced London in new sales agreed, house price and rental growth, and it seems likely that this will continue over the next few years.
The slight ”cooling” of London’s property market will be of no surprise, with affordability in the capital a sticking point for most residents and investors. However, with attractive employment prospects in London and the pull of the ”big city lifestyle”, the traditional ”commuter belt” located just outside London is once again set to provide a strong attraction for investors next year, with areas with fast and reliable rail connections offering some of the best opportunities.
Those considering the London commuter belt property market should consider areas that offer travel times under 40 minutes by train like High Wycombe. Recently named the location with the ”most reliable” commute to London, High Wycombe offers a fast 35-minute train and is ranked in the top 10 family-friendly commuter towns for London workers.
Property values in the picturesque market town have increased by 8% over the last 12 months, with the average prices of property standing at £374,442 – significantly lower than the London average of £649,941.
As city workers start to return to offices, many companies have moved to a hybrid model regarding location flexibility. Buy to let investors who take note of this trend will be able to capitalise on the demand for rental properties within an easy commute from London.

How to invest in buy to let property in 2022?

Building a diverse portfolio can offer some highly attractive benefits for property investors. Location diversification is a popular strategy for investors who can broaden their options to ensure maximum benefit from various trends and fluctuations in the market.
Cities including Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle will prove attractive options for buy to let property investment in 2022 and beyond, offering investors the opportunity to secure reliable rental returns and capital growth potential. Plus, with the government’s commitment to level up the country’s economy, investors stand to benefit from long-term infrastructure projects that include HS2.
For those considering entering the property market, there are several reasons for investors to feel confident about the fundamentals driving buy to let sector.

To discover the best place to invest in UK property in 2022 for your portfolio, contact Surrenden Invest to discuss your requirements and to view our latest range of investments.

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