Countrywide Monthly Lettings Index – February 2014

Countrywide Residential Lettings

Monday, March 10, 2014

56% of landlords live within 10 miles of their rental property

Distance between landlords and their rental investment

Over half (56%) of buy-to-let landlords and property investors live within 10 miles of their rental properties, according to analysis from Countrywide Residential Lettings, the UK’s largest lettings agency [See Appendix A].

Over two thirds of landlords in the North East and North West live within 10 miles of their rental property. The number of landlords living within 25 miles of their properties is highest in the North East at 83%, followed by the North West at 81%, East Midlands at 71% and London at 60% of landlords.

The size of landlord’s portfolios tends to be small with only 6% of landlords owning more than a single rental property.  Landlords in London have the smallest average rental portfolio size with only 4% of landlords owning more than a single property. The cost of purchase and size of deposit required, being a significant barrier to increasing portfolio size. London also has the largest proportion of landlords living more than 100 miles away, with more than 1 in 5 landlords doing so, which is nearly twice the UK average.

In more rural areas such as Wales and the East of England, the low proportion of landlords living within 10 miles of their rental property is explained by a sparse population. Instead of investing in the same village or town, landlords choose to live further away whilst still remaining close enough to keep an eye on their asset. The proportion of landlords living between 10 and 25 miles away in Wales and the East of England is the largest in the country. [See Appendix B]

A regional perspective

The average monthly rent in the UK in February 2014 was £861, up 0.2% month-on-month and 3.1% year-on-year. Seven out of 10 regions saw a month-on-month decrease in average monthly rent, with Yorkshire and Humber seeing the greatest decrease, down 6%, followed by the North East, down 3.1%. Of those regions that saw an increase in average monthly rents, Central London and the South West saw the greatest month-on-month increase, up 4.1%.

Over the past 12 months, average monthly rents have increased in 8 out of 10 regions, with Scotland seeing the most significant increaseup 9.6% year-on-year to £626pcm, followed by Central London up 8.5% to £2,630pcm. The West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside saw a year-on-year decrease in average monthly rents, down 6.2% and 0.7% respectively.

Arrears

In February, arrears fell year-on-year in all regions apart from Scotland and East of England, where they increased 2.7% and 0.1% respectively. The North East saw the greatest year-on-year fall in arrears, down 1.8%.

Table A: Regional variations in rents and arrears data in England, Scotland and Wales

Region

February 2014 Average Rent

January 2014 Average Rent

Rent year-on-year increase / (decrease)

February 2013 Average Rent

Arrears >30 days (%rent roll £)

Greater London

£1,154

£1,143

3.9%

£1,111

8.0%

Central London

£2,630

£2,526

8.5%

£2,424

7.2%

East of England

£828

£841

2.1%

£811

6.9%

South East

£1,078

£1,079

4.0%

£1,037

5.1%

South West

£765

£735

1.9%

£751

4.9%

East Midlands

£589

£594

3.3%

£570

7.3%

West Midlands

£663

£683

(6.2%)

£707

6.0%

Wales

£650

£628

3.2%

£630

6.1%

North East

£593

£616

0.9%

£588

4.7%

North West

£619

£608

1.6%

£609

9.0%

Yorkshire and the Humber

£597

£635

(0.7%)

£601

6.0%

Scotland

£626

£639

9.6%

£571

8.3%

Total

£861

£859

3.1%

£835

6.6%

Commenting on the Index, Nick Dunning, Group Commercial Director at Countrywide plc, said:

“Location is key to buy-to-let investment and as the findings show, landlords tend to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area.  Given 94% of UK landlords own a single rental property, many choose to take a hands on approach in regards to management, so favour being closer to their rental accommodation.

“According to DCLG’s English Housing Survey, in 2012-13 the private rented sector overtook the social rented sector to become the second largest tenure in England after owner occupiers.  With the private rented sector continuing to grow, there is increasing need for more good quality rented accommodation.

“Current economic and property market conditions are encouraging for both current and potential investors. Towns and cities always prove particularly popular with tenants due to their range of amenities and facilities. Locations with good road and rail links are also high on the list of desirables for tenants, making these types of places reliable for buy-to-let investment.

“Growing average monthly rents across the UK shows the increasing attractiveness of regions outside London. London still remains a good place to buy property given exceptionally strong capital growth over the last 12 months but investors are venturing further afield for investment opportunities.”

-Ends-

Appendix A

graph of distance

Appendix B

map distance

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