Is London the best buy-to-let investment?

The latest research by lettings management platform, Howsy, has looked at the facts and fingers of investing in London’s buy-to-let sector.

Rental yields are the main gauge of buy-to-let profitability and at 4.8%, outer London is home to the lowest average yield of all regions. Inner London doesn’t fare much better at 5%, the second-lowest average yield of all regions along with the South West.

While the higher cost of investing may dent yields, the average rent earned per month is still by far the highest in inner and outer London at £2,453 and £1,697 respectively. With the East of England, South East and South West the only other regions to see rental income tip over £1,000 a month on average.

The average landlord in inner London has an average portfolio of 7.7 properties, climbing to 7.9 properties in outer London. While this is lower than landlords in the South East, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East and North West, there is a clear winner where the value of these portfolios is concerned.

In inner London, the average buy-to-let portfolio is worth an impressive £4.5m on average, by far the highest of any region. In outer London, this drops to an average of £3.3m but remains considerably higher than any other region.

Of course, many landlords rely on a buy-to-let mortgage to finance their portfolio. The figures show that in inner London the total amount owed per landlord through buy-to-let mortgage borrowing is £1.1m, falling to £811,000 in outer London.

This equates to just 24% of the average buy-to-let portfolio value in both areas, with London landlords owing the smallest proportion of their portfolio value of all areas other than the South East.

There is another huge benefit when investing in a London buy-to-let. In the last year, just 28% of landlords in inner London saw their tenants fall into rental arrears, the lowest of all regions. In outer London, this figure also remains under 40% but was higher than the East of England, South East and South West.

However, over the last three months, this figure falls to 31% in outer London. Along with the South West, this is the lowest level of arrears of all regions other than inner London, where just 24% of landlords have experienced arrears.

Average yield, house price and rent
Location
Average rental yield
Average house price (Q1 2020)
Average rent earned per month
North West
6.30%
£165,714
£870
East Midlands
5.70%
£194,933
£926
Yorkshire and the Humber
5.50%
£163,093
£748
East of England
5.20%
£291,021
£1,261
North East
5.20%
£127,704
£553
South East
5.20%
£322,863
£1,399
West Midlands
5.10%
£187,758
£798
London – Inner
5.00%
£588,698
£2,453
South West
5.00%
£259,891
£1,083
London – Outer
4.80%
£424,172
£1,697
Average portfolio size and value
Location
Properties in the average portfolio
Average house price (Q1 2020)
Average value of portfolio
London – Inner
7.7
£588,698
£4,532,971
London – Outer
7.9
£424,172
£3,350,957
South East
8.1
£322,863
£2,615,189
East of England
6.4
£291,021
£1,862,533
Yorkshire and the Humber
11.0
£163,093
£1,794,021
South West
6.5
£259,891
£1,689,293
North East
13.1
£127,704
£1,672,919
North West
8.8
£165,714
£1,458,284
East Midlands
7.4
£194,933
£1,442,506
West Midlands
7.6
£187,758
£1,426,964
Average number of buy-to-let loans held, total amount owed and percentage of owed amount of total portfolio
Location
Average number of BTL loans held
Total amount owed through BTL mortgage borrowing
North East
8.3
£720,000
43%
North West
8.4
£559,000
38%
West Midlands
5.2
£523,000
37%
East Midlands
5.0
£515,000
36%
Yorkshire and the Humber
7.7
£581,000
32%
East of England
4.7
£533,000
29%
South West
5.2
£438,000
26%
London – Inner
5.9
£1,100,000
24%
London – Outer
5.1
£811,000
24%
South East
5.3
£583,000
22%
Rental arrears and void periods
Location
Arrears last year
Arrears 3 months
Yorkshire and the Humber
42%
55%
North West
50%
46%
North East
60%
45%
East Midlands
41%
43%
West Midlands
42%
39%
East of England
37%
36%
South East
36%
33%
London – Outer
39%
31%
South West
32%
31%
London – Inner
28%
24%

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