HSBC in its recent report has confirmed Southampton as the number one destination for buy-to-let investors seeking the best yields in the UK.
Most of the media attention tends to be focussed on central London and the London boroughs, which are shown by this report to have significantly lower yields on average due to the rapidly increasing prices compared with other cities.
If an investor is principally concerned to achieve capital appreciation then central London is perhaps still the option most would choose. However, many commentators are now predicting less certainty in the London market up to and following the 2015 election. Furthermore, there is a clear migration of London residents to more affordable towns and cities on decent commuter routes into London where their funds will stretch to much more spacious dwellings in areas with good schools and community facilities.
Reading is also earmarked by many as a potential hot spot for increasing yields with the expected impact of Crossrail and redevelopment in the town centre.
At Pitmans we've seen a healthy flow for some time of buy-to-let investors completing deals on properties locally. It seems this trend is unlikely to change in the near future.
Expats looking to buy property in the UK to rent out should be aware of the wide differences in rental income across the country. For example, if you became a buy-to-let investor in Southampton rental yields are as high as 8.73 per cent whereas some parts of London only offer yields of 2.7 per cent (Hammersmith and Fulham) as property prices have rocketed so much in parts of the capital. By being out of the UK an expat can lose touch with escalating property prices, which have a major impact on the rental yields.