Areas of Kent: Buy-to-Let Property Investment Hotspots
Kent is known as the Garden of England, due to its reputation as an agricultural county. But is Kent a fruitful place for property investors to invest and grow their money? Here’s our guide to the best areas of Kent to invest in buy-to-let.
Why Invest in Kent?
Kent is a very diverse county stretching from the English Channel coast to Greater London. Some parts of Kent are densely populated and built up, while other parts of Kent are quiet and rural.
As well as agriculture, Kent’s economy is based around light manufacturing, financial services, public services, distribution, leisure and tourism, and transport. The Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel or Eurotunnel near Folkestone are important contributors to the Kent economy.
The North Kent Enterprise Zone is aimed at growing the economy of North Kent. It is aimed at developing modern industries such as medical technology, advanced manufacturing, engineering and digital industries. Projects include Ebbsfleet Garden City, Innovation Park Medway and the Kent Medical Campus at Maidstone.
The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Area is partly within Kent. The area is earmarked for commercial and industrial development.
Kent has a strategic location and is often regarded as the Gateway to Europe as well as the Garden of England. Kent is connected to the Channel ports, London and the rest of the country using the M20, M2 and A2 roads. Kent has rail services not only to London but to mainland Europe too. There are international stations with high-speed rail services at Ebbsfleet and Ashford International. Ebbsfleet is just 20 minutes from London and Ashford is just 40 minutes from London.
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The new Lower Thames Crossing of the River Thames will link Kent to Essex by 2027 and will make parts of Kent (particularly Medway) even better connected and more popular as places to do business, work and live.
Kent is a fast-growing part of the country in population terms, which should help boost the demand for accommodation in the future. This report suggests the population of Kent will rise by 400,000 people up until 2031.
Good accessibility means several parts of Kent are attractive to London commuters. Kent towns which are within 30-45 minutes of central London can be very attractive to London commuters.
Some parts of Kent have a student accommodation market. The University of Kent has campuses in Canterbury and Medway. Canterbury Christ Church University has campuses in Canterbury, Medway and Tunbridge Wells. The University for the Creative Arts has a campus in Canterbury and one in Rochester.
Property Values in Kent
House prices in the southeast of England, of which Kent is a part, are the highest in the UK outside London. The average house price in the southeast is around £337,000 according to HM Land Registry figures.
Kent has a very mixed property market, however. Although there are some expensive towns in Kent there are also some cheap property hotspots in Kent, offering investors the opportunity to find bargain property investments.
The most expensive large town in Kent is Sevenoaks. The cheapest places to invest in property in Kent are the Medway towns and Thanet.
According to Zoopla, while the most expensive houses in Kent cost around £4 million it is possible to find investment property in Kent from as little as £40,000.
Rental Demand in Kent
Kent has a very varied rental market. It offers every type of buy-to-let opportunity to property investors. There is demand from locals, London commuters and those coming to work in Kent. Some locations in Kent have a student accommodation market too.
Low property prices in some parts of Kent mean they are popular for shared housing or HMO-type accommodation, which can offer good yields. Investors considering investing in shared accommodation should check the situation regarding licences that may be needed with the relevant local authority.
Kent can offer attractive yields for property investors. According to property.xyz investors should obtain a yield of at least 3% on average across the county, with some areas offering much higher yields.
Property Investment in Kent
Here’s our guide to property investment in some of the largest towns in the county of Kent.
Population: 75,000 approximately
Average House Price: £316,050
Ashford is a one-time market town, military town and manufacturing centre that has developed fast in recent decades. It has a fast-growing population and there have been many new build housing developments which have greatly expanded the town.
Ashford benefits from a good location on the M20 and from Ashford International train station. Ashford is a popular place to buy or rent for those who need to travel around Kent.
Statistics from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Ashford is currently £1,080 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Ashford are 4% based on the TN23 to TN27 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Population: 55,000 approximately
Average House Price: £322,276
Canterbury is one of the UK’s most historic cities and is a sought after part of Kent in which to live. Canterbury also has a busy tourist trade in the season, with Canterbury Cathedral and other sights attracting 7.8 million tourist visits annually. Canterbury is also Kent’s main student city and offers investors student property opportunities.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Canterbury is currently £1,310 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Canterbury are a strong 5.3% to 5.7% based on the CT1 and CT2 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Here’s more detailed information on the best areas of Canterbury to invest in buy-to-let.
Population: 110,000 approximately
Average House Price: £321,788
Dartford is traditionally an industrial and manufacturing town and a major employment location. Dartford is known for the Dartford Crossing of the River Thames, so benefits from easy access to both Kent, Essex and the rest of the country.
Dartford’s closeness to London makes it attractive as a good value place to live for London commuters. Dartford Borough Council has a programme of regeneration aimed at making Dartford a better place to live.
To the east at Swanscombe, also close to Gravesend. there are plans to develop a Disneyland-style theme park known as The London Resort. This could transform the local economy and provide many jobs.
Investors interested in the area might also consider Ebbsfleet Garden City, a major new build town between Dartford and Gravesend.
Data from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary shows that the average rent in Dartford is currently £1,125 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Dartford are 4.3% based on the DA1 and DA2 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Population: 30,000 approximately
Average House Price: £269,196 (Dover district)
The small town of Deal is on the east Kent coast. A one-time major port and military town Deal is now mainly a quiet visitor and residential town and is considered a fashionable place to live.
The Times has nominated Deal as one of its best places to live.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Deal is currently £1,000 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Deal are 3.2% based on the CT14 postcode area according to property.xyz.
Population: 31,000 approximately
Average House Price: £269,196
Dover is best known for the Port of Dover, which is one of the UK’s main freight and passenger links with mainland Europe. Much of Dover’s employment is linked to the port. Dover has also benefitted from regeneration in recent years to make it more attractive as a place to live and visit. Dover also has a visitor economy, and Dover Castle is one of Kent’s main tourist attractions.
Dover is a good value property location. Statistics from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Dover is currently £876 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Dover are up to 7.2% based on the CT16 and CT17 postcode areas according to research on property.xyz.
Population: 46,000 approximately
Average House Price: £283,177
Folkestone is a coastal resort on the English Channel coast just to the south-west of Dover. Today Folkestone is best known for being the location of the Channel Tunnel link to mainland Europe. Despite its proximity to a major transport route, Folkestone is a quiet town and a good value property location.
Folkestone property investors could also consider nearby Sandgate and Hythe.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Folkestone is currently £950 PCM.
Gross average rental yields in Folkestone are up to 5.4% based on the CT18, CT19 and CT20 postcode areas according to research using property.xyz.
Population: 74,000 approximately
Average House Price: £302,128 (Gravesham district)
Gravesend is in north-west Kent only around 20 miles from London. Gravesend is a historic maritime town and a one-time large industrial centre although today the economy is based around services.
Gravesend benefits from a really accessible location by the A2, M2 and M25 motorways and has good rail services into London. The fastest journey to London takes just 24 minutes. It attracts buyers and tenants looking for good value compared to Greater London.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Gravesend is currently £981 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Gravesend are 3.7% based on the DA11 and DA12 postcode area according to property.xyz.
Population: 145,000 approximately
Average House Price: £315,382
Maidstone is the county town of Kent. It is historically an agricultural and manufacturing town and also one of the largest service and retail centres in the region. Maidstone benefits from a good location on the M20 motorway.
Maidstone has seen lots of new house building in recent years and is a popular and smart residential spot.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Maidstone is currently £979 pcm. Gross average rental yields in Maidstone are 3.3% based on the ME14 to ME18 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Population: 280,000 approximately
Average House Price: £258,286
Medway is an area located on the River Medway in north Kent. Medway comprises the towns of Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Rochester and Strood. The Medway area is the largest urban area in Kent.
Medway is a historic area particularly around the one-time major navy base of Chatham. Today the economy is based around light industry and services. The area has seen much regeneration in recent years and is now a university town, being home to the Medway Campus.
Medway generally has some of the best value property prices in Kent.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in the Medway area is currently £864 PCM. Gross average rental yields across Medway are 4.3% based on the Chatham ME4 and ME5 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Investors might also consider the separate town of Sittingbourne to the east. Sittingbourne offers yields of around 4.2%.
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Population: 59,500 approximately
Average House Price: £411,455
Tunbridge Wells, more correctly known as Royal Tunbridge Wells, is a historic old spa town around 31 miles south of London. Set on the edge of the High Weald it benefits from access into the Kent countryside as well as commuter rail services into London. Tunbridge Wells is a higher-priced but sought after Kent residential town.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Royal Tunbridge Wells is currently £1,240 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Royal Tunbridge Wells are 2.6% based on the TN1 to TN4 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Population: 25,500 approximately
Average House Price: £455,828
Sevenoaks is in west Kent close to the junctions of the M25 and M26 motorways and around 20 miles from London. Although it has its own local employment Sevenoaks is a favourite London commuter location. Sevenoaks is a fashionable residential spot and a higher-priced location.
Figures from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary show that the average rent in Sevenoaks is currently £1,720 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Sevenoaks are 3.1% based on the TN13, TN14 and TN15 postcode areas according to property.xyz.
Population: 141,500 approximately
Average House Price: £258,650
The Thanet district covers a number of towns in north-east Kent and an area which is known as the Isle of Thanet. The main towns in Thanet are Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate which are also traditional coastal resorts. Margate has seen much regeneration in recent years and is home to the flagship Turner Contemporary art gallery.
The Thanet area generally has a less prosperous economy and is a less affluent part of Kent. As a result, it is a low priced property area. Thanet has a large rental market and can offer good yields for investors, however.
Data from the Home.co.uk Market Rent Summary shows that the average rent in Margate is currently £1,353 PCM. Gross average rental yields in Margate are 4.2%, in Ramsgate 3.7% and in Broadstairs 3%.
To the west, the coastal towns of Whitstable and Herne Bay, part of the City of Canterbury region, offer investors a 3-3.1% yield. Whitstable has been ranked as the best seaside town to move to in the UK.
Other Areas To Consider
Property investors who are interested in Kent could also consider locations that are now London boroughs but which are historically part of Kent, such as Bexley and Bromley.
More information about investing in property in these areas can be found here: The Best Areas of South London to Invest in Buy-to-Let