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The UK cities hit with the lowest level of rental stock



Leading lettings management platform, Howsy, has looked at where across the UK is home to the lowest level of rental stock to meet tenant demand.

Howsy looked at all property listings across the major portals and then looked at what percentage of these was accounted for by rental properties as opposed to properties for sale, to see where was most in need of more buy-to-let landlords.

The data shows that across the UK’s major cities an average of just 33.2% of all stock listed is to let rather than buy, while across London’s boroughs this increases to 37.1%.

The worst served city for rental stock is Newport in Wales where just 13.5% of properties listed are to rent, with Bristol the second lowest and lowest in England at 15.8%, closely followed by Glasgow at 16.4% as the lowest in Scotland.

Belfast ranks as the city with the fourth lowest level of rental stock at 16.8%, with Plymouth completing the top five at just 24.9%.

When it comes to an abundance of rental stock, Aberdeen tops the table with 62.2% of all properties listed on the portals for rent. Newcastle ranks second with 53.5% followed by Oxford (47.3%), London (42.1%) and Southampton (41.2%).

Looking at the capital on a borough level, Bexley ranks as the worst area for rental stock availability with just 15.2% of property listed on the portals available for tenants, not homebuyers. 

Havering (16.4%), Bromley (18.7%), Sutton (21.4%) and Croydon (23.7%) also rank amongst the lowest, while Westminster is home to the highest at 62%.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented:

“This data not only suggests where tenants might struggle to find a place to rent due to an imbalance of rental to sale stock but perhaps also where has seen the largest exodus of buy-to-let landlords due to recent changes in legislation with lettings stock dwindling while the amount of property for sale increases.  

It makes sense that in cities dominated by industry, such as Aberdeen or Newcastle, and in those with the least affordable price tags, such as London and Oxford, there is a higher tendency to rent and therefore more rental properties as a proportion of all homes listed.

However, it also highlights that in areas such as Newport, Bristol and Glasgow where rental stock is very low, there is a real opportunity for the professional buy-to-let landlord due to a higher level of tenant demand with a lower investment cost.

Whichever way you look at it, we’re seeing a shift in lifestyle trends towards a greater acceptance of renting on a longer-term basis with the scramble to own our own homes taking a back seat, and so it’s important that the level of rental stock available is cultivated to meet demand across the UK.”

Rental stock (% of properties)
City Rental stock (%)
Aberdeen 62.2%
Newcastle 53.5%
Oxford 47.3%
London 42.1%
Southampton 41.2%
Leeds 40.2%
Swansea 39.7%
Cardiff 37.7%
Manchester 37.6%
Birmingham 37.1%
Cambridge 36.8%
Sheffield 32.2%
Leicester 31.9%
Bournemouth 30.9%
Edinburgh 27.6%
Nottingham 26.9%
Liverpool 26.7%
Portsmouth 25.5%
Plymouth 24.9%
Belfast 16.8%
Glasgow 16.4%
Bristol 15.8%
Newport 13.5%
Average 33.2%
Rental stock (% of properties)
Location / borough Rental stock (%)
Westminster 62.0%
Kensington and Chelsea 61.7%
Camden 59.5%
Hammersmith and Fulham 51.5%
City of London 50.2%
Islington 49.9%
Tower Hamlets 47.0%
Brent 42.4%
Haringey 40.9%
Southwark 40.2%
Barnet 40.0%
Wandsworth 39.6%
Hackney 39.6%
Ealing 38.7%
Lambeth 37.4%
Newham 37.1%
Merton 36.3%
Hounslow 36.0%
Harrow 35.6%
Redbridge 35.1%
Richmond upon Thames 34.3%
Greenwich 34.1%
Enfield 32.0%
Barking and Dagenham 30.6%
Lewisham 30.2%
Kingston upon Thames 29.7%
Waltham Forest 28.6%
Hillingdon 27.5%
Croydon 23.7%
Sutton 21.4%
Bromley 18.7%
Havering 16.4%
Bexley 15.2%
Average 37.1%
Inner London 46.2%
Outer London 30.3%


Cost of maintaining a buy-to-let hits £12k a year in parts of the UK



Leading property management platform, Howsy, has looked at the cost of maintaining a buy-to-let property each year and how this varies across the UK.  

Buy-to-let can be a tricky business if you don’t tackle it properly and there are a whole host of costs that can trip up the amateur investor. From the more obvious additional three percent stamp duty tax, to various other tax implications, void periods, mortgage costs, agency fees, the cost of finding a tenant, and more, Howsy’s previous research shows the average buy-to-let brings an annual return of just £2,000.

With the Government’s continued attack on UK landlords, making the most out of your investment financially can be tough and even when you consider all financial commitments for a property, many can still be caught unaware by out of the blue maintenance and repair costs. 

Buy-to-let landlords should squirrel away savings in anticipation of these events and an industry rule of thumb is an annual budget equivalent to 1% of your property’s value. 

So what does that equate to?  

Across the UK landlords should be tucking away an annual budget of £2,344 to cover repairs and maintenance, with this rising to £4,746 in London, with the North East home to the lowest repair costs at just £1,328. 

Of course, markets with higher rent returns may seem promising from an investment standpoint but the higher the reward, the higher the cost when things do go wrong. In Kensington and Chelsea, this annual 1% saving climbs to an eye-watering £12,292, hitting nearly £9,000 in both the Cities of London and Westminster.  

Outside of London, South Bucks and Elmbridge are home to the most expensive buy-to-let maintenance costs at £6,091 and £6,019 respectively.

Head to the likes of Burnley or Blaenau Gwent however, and this yearly maintenance budget drops to less than £1,000 a year.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented: 

“The buy-to-let sector can be a minefield for the amateur investor and now more than ever, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to maximise the return on your investment.

While technology now allows a greater level of control and service when managing your investment at a lower cost via online platforms, it isn’t just about the financial side of things. Providing a fit for purpose property is not only a legal requirement but essential to ensure a happy tenancy and a reduction in void periods.

Of course, things can go wrong and having the budget available to fix them is a must. In the worst-case scenarios, a cash pot equal to one percent of your property’s value might not be sufficient, but it should cover you for most eventualities and is a good benchmark to start on.

As with all buy-to-let investments, good preparation, organisation, and education are key, and whether you go it alone or have a great management agent if you stay on top of things, a bricks and mortar investment is still one of the best you can make.” 

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