Newly released data from specialist buy-to-let lender, Fleet Mortgages, has revealed that rental yields on residential buy-to-let properties of 6.4% across England are up 0.4% from the 6% achieved in the third quarter of 2019.
Fleet's research covers all the areas in which it lends in England, highlighting the rental yield changes that have occurred in each region.
According to the figures, the North East of England posted the top rental yield regional figure for the quarter, up 2% year-on-year to 8.8%, while only the North West and the East Midlands showed slight drops in rental yields, albeit from relatively strong levels.
Last quarter only three regions posted positive rental yields over the period however this time seven – North East, Yorkshire & Humberside, West Midlands, East Anglia, South West & Wales, South East and Greater London – all posted increases.
Fleet said the overall data showed a more positive picture than three months ago – when valuers had only just started carrying out physical valuations after the easing of lockdown – with a greater number of transactions and rental valuations showing the strength of the private rental sector during the summer and through into autumn.
It did, however, highlight the impact COVID-19 may potentially have on rental property within, and around, city centres with potential tenants looking to live further away from those areas. Plus, it suggested that curbs on foreign tourism may bring a greater supply of short-term lets to market in certain regions however an increase in ‘staycationing’ may ensure yields are not unduly impacted by the greater number of properties available.
As with Q2 figures, this Q3 data does not include Wales as different lockdown rules apply and no meaningful data is available to provide a robust rental yield figure.
Steve Cox, Distribution Director of Fleet Mortgages, commented:
“It’s clearly positive to see the majority of regions in England posting increases in rental yields, and those regions which have shown a very slight dip were already at relatively high levels, to begin with.
“We learnt from the post-Credit Crunch period over a decade ago that rents are not as susceptible to a recession as property prices, with many occupants more willing to opt for the shorter-term financial commitment offered by renting than longer-term property ownership.
“While the economic backdrop is not pretty with the ongoing recession and uncertainty about the true impact on employment levels suggesting a negative outlook for rental demand, the early indications - as evidenced by our Barometer - are more promising with no suggestion of sharp falls in rental yields. Perhaps this is a result of pent-up demand and more households being formed as a result of the lockdown – we will get a better idea of the sustainability of this in the coming months.
“What we may however see, is further structural changes in rental demand, particularly in urban centres with tenants – who can now work from home – feeling they are no longer tied to a property near to the office and may look further afield where they might get more for their money. However, we have not yet seen any evidence to suggest this is becoming a trend.
“Demand for rental property is clearly holding up in most regions and the underlying demographics suggest that property investment will remain a good choice in the years ahead.
“Within a shorter time-frame, the fact that – in England at least – the stamp duty holiday is available to landlord borrowers has undoubtedly been a factor in the increased interest in property investment purchases, with both new and existing landlords looking at the opportunities available, and seeking to secure the savings that are available from the holiday.
“Our next iteration of the Barometer will give us more evidence on the robustness of rental yields and whether the potential impacts of COVID-19 on households and living arrangements are playing out as they are perceived to be.”