Does Lancashire town offer investment alternative to London?

Does Lancashire town offer investment alternative to London? (iStock)

Residential property investors across the UK will often reassess their property portfolios, but it has generally been unlikely that they will have turned their attention much to Burnley. 

For anyone who has been focused on mature markets like central London, the idea of targeting an old Lancashire mill town might seem incongruous. After all, if the north-west is to provide new opportunities, why not focus on Manchester or Liverpool?

Direct Line for Business has provided the answer, revealing that Burnley currently offers the highest annualised rental yield at 7.1 per cent, almost twice the UK average of 3.6 per cent.

The second and third highest yields are in prominent cities, with Glasgow on 6.9 per cent and Belfast on 6.4 per cent. 

Direct Line noted that rental yields are lower in London and many other locations in the south and east of England due to the higher house prices, not least as rent increases have lagged well behind. 

Business manager at Direct Line for Business Christina Dimitrov explained: "While the UK’s homeowners can look back at strong gains in the period between 2014 and 2017 where [the] average property price was 17 per cent, it’s a different story for the rental market where average rents across the country rose by 4.7 per cent during this period, which remains below the average salary increase of 5.3 per cent."

This may go a long way to explaining the rental yield difference between places like central London - where the average property in Kensington and Chelsea is £1.25 million, and locations like Burnley, where the typical home can be bought for a mere £76,000. 

However, It was not all bad news inside the M25; the top dozen local authority areas for rental yields did include one part of the capital, with Hounslow in tenth place on 4.9 per cent. Moreover, London as a whole did still beat the national average, with 4.4 per cent. 

These figures suggest that it either established rental markets like London or relatively low-income towns and cities that offer the best yields. The top dozen also includes cities like Hull, Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham. Missing from the list are fast-emerging locations like Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool.