The Best Towns in the UK to Invest in Buy-to-Let: A Guide for Landlords
The UK has many large towns in which you can invest in buy to let. But when you’re investing you want to invest in the best places. Here are our tips on the best large towns in the UK to invest in buy to let.
So where are the best large towns to invest in buy to let in the UK? We’ve considered important factors such as the population, economy, jobs, infrastructure, urban regeneration and property prices to come up with some suggestions for towns you might consider.
Basildon is around 25 miles to the east of London and has a population of around 107,000.
Basildon is well connected by road and rail. Basildon is commutable into London taking only around 40 minutes by train.
Basildon is a major commercial and light industrial town and the area has one of the largest economies in the south east, providing many jobs. Employers in the area are mainly in automotive, aerospace, defence, innovation and R&D.
Although Basildon property prices are well above the national average it is a good value property location compared to much of the south east. Basildon property prices are only around two-thirds of those in nearby London.
Birkenhead is located on the Wirral peninsula just across the River Mersey from Liverpool. It has great road and rail links to Liverpool and other parts of north west England.
Birkenhead is going to benefit from some massive regeneration programmes and millions of pounds of new investment over the next few years. Regeneration plans here include rejuvenating the town centre and building over 20,000 new homes. The Wirral Waters scheme will provide a new suburb with commercial and employment sites and new homes.
Like nearby Liverpool, Birkenhead is a very good value property investment location.
Blackpool is best known for being a traditional seaside resort. It attracts millions of tourist visits a year, including to attractions such as its sandy beach, Blackpool Tower and Blackpool illuminations. Other Blackpool employers are in services, public services and light manufacturing.
There are some exciting schemes to regenerate Blackpool and make it a more attractive place to live, work and visit. Schemes include the new Blackpool Central leisure attraction, a new museum called Showtown Blackpool and new modern hotels. There is a new modern office development at Talbot Gateway and the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone aims to attract new businesses and create more jobs.
Blackpool is a hotspot for cheap property investment. Blackpool is frequently amongst the top ten cheapest towns in England.
Bournemouth has a population of around 183,500. Along with surrounding towns such as Christchurch and Poole Bournemouth is part of what is known as the South East Dorset Conurbation.
Bournemouth is best known as a holiday resort and receives around 4.7 million tourist visits a year. However Bournemouth has a buoyant economy and other industries here include health, education, the public sector, financial services, the digital sector, aviation and maritime industries. A number of large companies are based in the area.
Bournemouth is a university town. Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth have almost 20,000 students between them
Although parts of the Bournemouth area, especially at Sandbanks, have the UK’s most expensive property there is still good value property in the town.
Colchester is in Essex and is around 60 miles north east of London.
Originally a historic market town and garrison town the population of Colchester has grown fast in recent years as a result of extensive new house building. The main employers in Colchester are in the public sector and include the army, the local authority, hospitals and the University of Essex.
Colchester has really good rail connections into London so is commutable into the capital. Zoopla has previously named Colchester as London’s best-value commuter location.
The one-time new town of Crawley has expanded fast in recent years, as new districts have been added and Crawley has become established as a major regional town. Crawley benefits from good access to the M23/M25, a fast train service to London and Brighton and proximity to London Gatwick Airport.
The Crawley economy is based on service industries and light-industry. The nearby Manor Royal Business District and Gatwick Airport provide thousands of jobs.
Crawley is not a cheap property location and prices are slightly above the national average. However, Crawley is much cheaper than many locations in nearby Surrey and Sussex and offers good value to buyers and investors.
Croydon is a town as well as a London borough, just to the immediate south of London itself.
Croydon is one of the region’s largest towns. It has a population of around 385,000 and is expected to reach 430,000 in the next few years.
Croydon has excellent transport links into London itself, making it an attractive location for those looking to commute to London. Central London can be reached in as little as 15 minutes from East Croydon train station.
Croydon is undergoing huge regeneration and more are planned to help turn it into a major regional centre. New grade-A office space and new city living properties are being built, alongside new retail, leisure and cultural amenities.
Due to its proximity to London Croydon property prices are well above the national average. However, Croydon is one of the cheaper London boroughs and offers good value to buyers and investors who want to buy in London.
Doncaster in South Yorkshire is currently a town but is due to become one of the country's newest cities having been awarded city status to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.
Doncaster has great transport links and is one of the best-connected places in the country. It is on the A1(M), the East Coast main railway line, has its own airport and is close to the Humberside ports.
Doncaster was traditionally a railway and industrial town. In recent years it has become a key location for logistics and distribution. There are many large warehouses and distribution parks in Doncaster and a number of large companies are based here.
Doncaster is a good value property hotspot. Doncaster house prices are well below the national average and also cheaper than most other Yorkshire cities.
Dudley is in the West Midlands, around 6 miles from Birmingham. Dudley borough has a population of around 312,000. It is part of the area known as the Black Country, a one-time heavy industrial centre.
Dudley is embarking on an ambitious £1 billion investment programme to regenerate the town and improve transport, education, innovation, leisure and housing to help bring more jobs, homes and business investment to the town.
Projects include a new college, new university park, improved tourist and cultural amenities to attract visitors, a new transport interchange and new town centre housing. A new West Midlands Metro tram line to connect Dudley to Birmingham (in 40 minutes) and Wolverhampton (30 minutes) is due to open soon and should benefit the town.
Dudley is a low property price hotspot. It is around 25% cheaper that the average national property price.
Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk. It has a population of around 137,000 and is growing fast.
The Ipswich economy is based around light manufacturing and services including financial services, construction, transport and logistics. There are a number of business parks around the town providing many jobs. Ipswich is also a short distance from the Port of Felixstowe which is the UK’s biggest container port and one of the largest in Europe.
Ipswich is a good value property investment location compared to the surrounding Suffolk area. Ipswich property is around 10% to 20% cheaper than the nearby villages and towns.
Ipswich is also a university town, with around 8,000 students at the University of Suffolk.
Luton is one of the largest towns in the UK with a population of around 215,000. Luton has great transport links by road, rail and air. Central London can be reached in less than 25 minutes by train, meaning it is becoming increasingly attractive to London commuters looking for an affordable place to live.
Luton is known for Luton Airport and the aviation industry provides many jobs here. However, other Luton employers are in public administration, health, transport, logistics and distribution, and financial and business services.
Luton Council has a master plan for the town which aims to attract investment, create new jobs, improve the town centre public realm, create a new park and encourage new homes in the centre.
Luton is one of the few towns in south east England where property prices are below the national average. Luton's average house prices are around 10% cheaper.
Middlesbrough on Teesside is an industrial and port town. The Middlesbrough economy has been hard hit by the closure of the steel industry here in recent years. However, it is still an important industrial centre and locations such as Teesport, Wilton International and Teesdale Business Park provide many local jobs.
There are some major plans to boost the Middlesbrough economy and attract new businesses and new jobs which should benefit the property market here. These include the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone and the Teesside Freeport, which is the largest in the UK. Middlesborough town centre is also benefitting from regeneration with new modern office space at Centre Square, Albert North and Boho.
Middlesborough is a university town with Teesside University.
Middlesbrough and Teesside house prices are currently some of the lowest in the UK.
Milton Keynes has a population of around 230,000. It is currently a town but is in line to be given city status.
Milton Keynes is a jobs and business hotspot. The economy is based on logistics and services, including professional business services which provide lots of well-paid jobs and several large companies are found here. It also benefits from being within travelling distance of the ‘brain belt’ cities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Milton Keynes has good transport links by road and rail, including to London which is around 30 minutes away. Milton Keynes will be at the centre of the new East-West Rail railway line, eventually connecting Oxford and Cambridge.
Milton Keynes property prices are slightly above the national average. However, they are lower than many cities in the region.
Reading in Berkshire has a population of around 230,000. It has the distinction of being the largest town in the UK that is not actually a city.
Reading is within the M4 Corridor area and benefits from great transport links which have made it attractive as a place to locate businesses and to live. Reading is right by the M4, the Great Western mainline railway and is convenient for London Heathrow Airport. The new Elizabeth Line means that London is just 50 minutes by train.
Reading is a centre for IT, telecoms, tech. and digital and other high-value businesses. The Thames Valley area is said to be the Silicon Valley of the UK. The Reading area has many large business parks where thousands of people work, and where several multinational companies are based.
Reading is also a university town with the University of Reading being based here.
Reading property prices are slightly above the national average. However, Reading property is much more affordable than many other locations in south east England.
Slough has a population of around 150,000 and is a fast-growing town.
Slough’s location to the west of London, within the M4 corridor area, and close to London Heathrow Airport has made it a hotspot for business relocation over the years. The Slough economy is based on industries like light manufacturing, logistics, services, telecoms and tech. and many large companies offering well-paid jobs are located here. Slough Trading Estate is said to be the largest business park in Europe and around 20,000 people work there.
Slough is becoming more attractive to London commuters as a result of its cheaper prices and rents and the opening of the new Elizabeth Line which offers a 25-minute journey into London.
While Slough house prices are above the national average they are much lower than in London and many other cities and towns of the south east.
Solihull is in the West Midlands. Solihull is often thought of as being part of the Birmingham area but is a separate town and borough.
Solihull has a buoyant economy. It provides many well-paid jobs helping to create a buoyant property market in the area. Solihull’s employers include automotive, advanced manufacturing, scientific and technical, transport and logistics, financial services and business and professional services. Solihull is famous for being the home of Land Rover.
Solihull has great transport connections being close to major motorways, Birmingham International Station and Birmingham Airport. By around 2030 there will be a new HS2 Interchange Station on the HS2 high-speed rail line offering an even faster journey to London.
Solihull property prices are above the national average. However strong demand and the strong economy still make it an attractive location for buyers and investors.
Formerly a town, Southend on Sea is one of the UK’s newest cities. Southend is to be granted city status in honour of its former MP Sir David Amess.
Southend is best known as a seaside resort, known for Southend Pier and being particularly popular with London visitors. Southend receives around 6 million tourist visits a year. Southend is also a large business and commercial centre too. There are several business parks and large companies located here which provide many jobs.
Southend has a good rail service into London (45 minutes) meaning it has become attractive to London commuters in recent years.
The centre of Southend is undergoing regeneration. The £575 million Queensway regeneration will see dated tower blocks demolished and around 1,750 new homes plus amenities built in the centre.
Southend is a good value property area compared to the rest of the region. House prices are under the average for south east England.
Stevenage was established as a new town in the late 1940s and has grown fast since to become a major south east town. Stevenage is around 27 miles north east of London.
Stevenage benefits from being close to the A1(M) and is also on the East Coast Mainline railway. London King’s Cross can be reached in just 24 minutes by the fastest train, meaning Stevenage is commutable to London.
Stevenage is embarked on a £1 billion regeneration project which will bring new shops, leisure amenities and up to 7,300 new homes to the town centre.
Stevenage has good value property prices compared to most of south east England.
Stockport is part of Greater Manchester and is just 6 miles to the south of Manchester city centre. Stockport borough has a population of around 290,000 making it one of the largest towns in north west England.
Stockport industries include wholesale and retail, financial services, health and social care, manufacturing industries, creative and digital plus professional, scientific and technical services and several large companies are based here.
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has a £1 billion plan to regenerate the town centre. New grade A office space has been developed at Stockport Exchange and new leisure amenities at Redrock Stockport. There are also plans to build around 1,000 new homes to help rejuvenate the town centre.
Stockport house prices are slightly below the national average.
Swindon in Wiltshire is one of the largest towns in the south west. The population of around 222,000 is expected to rise to around 233,000 within the next few years.
Swindon has good transport links being right by the M4 motorway and on the Great Western main railway line with services to London, the south west and South Wales.
Swindon’s economy was based originally based around the railways. Today, Swindon’s economy is based around manufacturing, business services and financial services, research, pharmaceuticals, tech., logistics and distribution. A large Honda car manufacturing plant here closed in 2021. However, reports say that employment levels in the area remain strong with many of those employees affected finding jobs with other area employers.
Wiltshire can be a high-priced property location but Swindon is good value by comparison. Swindon property is on average around 20% cheaper than the surrounding area.
Warrington is part way between Liverpool and Manchester. It was originally a new town formed in the 1960s. Warrington has grown fast over the last few decades. The population is now around 210,000.
Warrington has enjoyed an economic boom in recent decades, thanks partly to its great transport links by road via the M6, M56 and M62 motorways and rail. The town is an employment hotspot and locations such as Birchwood Park and Omega Business Park provide thousands of jobs. Omega alone is expected to provide around 24,000 jobs on-site when fully built.
Warrington Borough Council has a 20-year vision, the Warrington Town Centre Masterplan, to make Warrington's town centre a better place to live work, visit and do business.
Warrington house prices are well under the national average. However strong demand for property here means they are ahead of many other towns in the north west of England.
Watford is in Hertfordshire and around 15 miles north west of central London. It has great transport links being close to the M1 and M25 and good rail links into London and to the Midlands and north.
The Watford economy is based around the service sector including financial and professional services, pharmaceuticals, health sciences, media, manufacturing and retail and leisure. Many large companies have their headquarters in Watford and they provide many jobs here.
A big benefit of Watford is that it has fast access to central London, so Watford is attractive to those who commute to London. The train journey from Watford into central London takes only around 20-30 minutes, and Watford is on the London Underground too.
While Watford isn’t a cheap property location property in the town is much better value than many London boroughs.
Wrexham (or Wrecsam in Welsh) is in North Wales. It is the fourth largest settlement in Wales and has a population of around 136,000.
Wrexham is a hotspot for business and commerce which provide many jobs and include high tech. manufacturing, biotech, financial and professional services. Several large companies are located here. Around 8,000 people work on the Wrexham Industrial Estate which is one of the largest in the country.
Wrexham is also a university town with Wrexham Glyndŵr University being located here as well as a campus of Bangor University.
Wrexham is a good value property located, with average prices being lower than the average house price in Wales. Another plus point is that Wrexham house prices are far lower than the nearby city of Chester.