Discover the best places to buy outside London. Find the ideal location to invest in a house near the city for assured yields and capital appreciation.
London is undoubtedly an excellent investment spot when it comes to buying property in the UK, albeit with relatively high price points. However, there are other promising areas outside London to buy real estate at lower entry points. Plus, they boast strong growth potential in the long term.
As a property investor, you want to find locations poised for price appreciation and solid rental yields. When considering property investment in the UK, the best places to buy outside London are as follows:
These cities offer a lower cost of living, major infrastructure and development projects attracting new residents and businesses, and a shortage of quality housing stock. Buying in one of these up-and-coming cities could provide higher returns over the long run transcending the capital.
In this guide, you’ll find an overview of the property market in each location to help determine which city aligns best with your investment goals. But before we go into the deets, here’s a summary of the key points.
|City||Population||Rental Yields (Average)||Property Price (Average)|
1. Birmingham: Affordable City Living Outside London
- Population: 863,000
- Average Rental Yields: 6.56%
- Average House Price: £279,332
Birmingham, located in the West Midlands region of England, is an affordable alternative to London for property investment. With a population of almost 1 million, Birmingham is a major city offering city living at a lower cost.
Here are compelling reasons why Birmingham is one of the best places to buy outside London when considering property investment:
- Property prices in Birmingham are significantly lower than in London. The average house price in Birmingham is around £279,332 compared to £523,325 in London. This means investors can purchase rental properties at a lower cost, increasing rental yields.
- Birmingham has a growing economy with significant banking, engineering, and retail employers. Prominent companies headquartered in Birmingham include HSBC UK, Jaguar Land Rover, and Cadbury. A robust and diverse economy indicates solid demand for rental housing.
- Birmingham is well-connected by rail and road, with the proposed HS2 rail line set to reduce travel time to London to just 49 minutes. The city also has an international airport offering direct flights to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and North America destinations. Strong transport links make Birmingham an attractive place for commuters and businesses.
- The city has a vibrant culture, food scene, nightlife and entertainment options, and green spaces like Cannon Hill Park and Sutton Park. These amenities appeal to young professionals and families looking to rent in the city.
With affordable house prices, a thriving economy, excellent transport connections and an abundance of amenities, Birmingham deserves consideration from property investors seeking an alternative to the London market. The city presents an opportunity for solid long-term returns on investment at a lower cost, and our guide on why you should invest in the Birmingham property market gives detailed insight into this region.
2. Kent (Ashford): Fast-Growing Towns With Easy Access to London
- Population: 136,700
- Average Rental Yields: 4%
- Average House Price: £335,349
Kent, located in southeast England, offers easy access to London while providing a lower cost of living. Ashford, in particular, is an up-and-coming town in Kent’s primary transport links, making it attractive as one of the best London commuter towns.
There are several reasons to invest in Kent (Ashford), but the following provides a summary.
Fast Rail Connections
Ashford is just 38 minutes by high-speed rail to London St. Pancras, with up to six trains running every hour. Such fast links enable an easy commute to London, attracting professionals and families.
Property prices in Ashford are typically 35% lower than in London. Flats and houses can be purchased for under £335,349, appealing to first-time buyers and investors seeking rental returns.
Ashford has seen extensive regeneration recently, with new residential and commercial developments underway. The town centre has been revitalised, and the International Station now provides retail and dining options. New housing is also being built on brownfield sites. Such growth signals a promising area for investment.
Ashford’s economy has diversified from its agricultural roots. Significant employers include transport and logistics companies, the NHS, and schools. New business parks are also attracting companies in various sectors. With more high-skilled, high-wage jobs, demand for housing should remain strong.
For investors seeking property outside of London with solid growth potential and transport connectivity, Ashford in Kent warrants consideration. The combination of lower living costs, new housing and infrastructure, employment opportunities, and fast rail links to London make it an attractive town for buying rental property.
3. Liverpool: Cultural Hub Offering Strong Rental Yields
- Population: 917,000
- Average Rental Yields: 6.6%
- Average House Price: £219,395
Liverpool has a buoyant rental market, with yields of up to 6.6% for residential properties. Demand is primarily driven by its large student population and workforce. As a cultural hub, Liverpool attracts young professionals in creative industries and is one of the best places to buy property outside London.
We’ve outlined below the primary reasons Liver pool should be at the top of your list for property investment outside London.
Affordable Property Prices
House prices in Liverpool are well below the UK average, making it an attractive city for investors. The average house price is £219,395, compared to £285,000 nationally. This price differential, coupled with Liverpool’s solid rental demand, means investors can achieve excellent rental yields in the long term.
Regeneration and Infrastructure Investment
Liverpool is undergoing extensive regeneration, especially along its historic waterfront. Massive investments in infrastructure, education, and transportation are transforming the city. A £5.5 billion project is redeveloping the Liverpool Waters area into a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood. The new Everton FC stadium will also boost the local economy.
Strong Economy and Skilled Workforce
Liverpool has a diverse, service-based economy focused on financial services, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, as well as creative and digital industries. The city has a skilled workforce, with two leading universities producing business, technology, and healthcare graduates. Significant employers include Jaguar Land Rover, AstraZeneca, and Maersk. All of these translate into a community with immense housing needs, which property investors can take advantage of.
In summary, Liverpool offers property investors an exciting opportunity. With the cultural appeal, ongoing regeneration, affordable house prices and strong rental demand, Liverpool’s property market is poised for growth. For buyers priced out of London and other major cities, Liverpool represents an attractive and strategic investment location.
4. Manchester: Major Regional City Center With Investment Potential
- Population: 2,791,000
- Average Rental Yields: 6–7%
- Average House Price: £304,988
Manchester is a thriving city in the North West of England with a population of over 2.7 million. The city is well connected by road, rail, and air, making it an attractive destination for businesses and residents. As a result, property investment in Manchester offers fantastic opportunities, with demand for rental property remaining strong.
Manchester is one of the UK’s most important regional cities with a rapidly growing economy. The city contributes over £74.85 billion (GVA) to the national economy, with major industries including financial and professional services, manufacturing, and tourism. This economic success has led to population growth and a housing shortage, creating solid demand in the rental property market. This means strong occupancy rates, competitive rents, and healthy investor yields.
Despite not enlisting among the best commuter towns north of London, such as Luton and Chelmsford, it’s still a great alternative to London when considering property investment due to the aforementioned reasons.
Areas in Manchester to consider for an investment property include the following:
- The City Center: High-density, urban area with many apartments and proximity to amenities. Rents and demand are high due to the popularity of young professionals.
- Ancoats: Up-and-coming area northeast of the city centre with many new-build apartments. More affordable than the city centre with good growth potential.
- Salford Quays: Waterfront location 3 km west of the city centre; home to apartments with on-site amenities in a scenic, residential setting. The area boasts strong demand from families and professionals.
Manchester offers investors an exciting opportunity in one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities. The city’s rental property market is poised for continued success with a booming economy, population growth, and an imbalance between housing supply and demand. We believe Manchester deserves serious consideration in any UK investment property portfolio for capital appreciation and rental income.
5. Nottingham: Picturesque City With Solid Property Market
- Population: 807,000
- Average Rental Yields: 8.95%
- Average House Price: £257,929
Nottingham is a picturesque city in the East Midlands of England with a robust property market. The city’s economy thrives as one of the UK’s leading tech hubs outside of London. This bodes well for the city’s residential property sector.
Several reasons to invest in Nottingham abound, including the following:
Strong Rental Demand
Nottingham has two major universities, attracting over 70,000 students (1,2). This fuels demand for student accommodation and rental properties, providing lucrative investment opportunities. The average rent in Nottingham is £1,569 per month, with higher rents near Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.
Affordable House Prices
House prices in Nottingham are well below the UK average, making it an affordable city for property investment. It’s also one of the most affordable commuter towns outside London, after Liverpool. The average house price is £257,929, significantly lower than the UK average of £285,000. This price difference, combined with solid rental returns of around 8.95% per annum, means Nottingham offers an attractive yield for buy-to-let investors.
Growing Economy and Job Market
Nottingham has a diversified economy with strengths in the financial, biotech, retail, and tourism sectors. Significant employers include Experian, Capital One, Boots, and HMRC. The job market is buoyant, with a low unemployment rate of 5.3%—way higher than the national average of 3,8%—and an increasing number of high-skilled, high-wage jobs. This economic vitality and skilled workforce attract large companies, boosting residential and commercial property demand.
Several Investment Hotspots
Some of the top locations for property investment in Nottingham include the following:
- The Lace Market: A historic district with Victorian warehouses converted into upmarket apartments. Enjoys high rental demand from young professionals.
- West Bridgford: An affluent suburb with excellent schools, low crime, and solid house price growth. Popular with families and landlords.
- Beeston: A thriving town south of Nottingham with a high-speed rail link to London. New residential developments and a popular student area are driving rental demand in this area.
In summary, Nottingham deserves consideration as a prime city for property investment outside London. With its quaint charm, affordable house prices, growing economy, and vibrant rental market, Nottingham offers attractive opportunities for buy-to-let investors and developers. Our guide on why you should invest in the Nottingham property market gives more insight into this region.
FAQ: Best Places to Buy Outside London
Where is the cheapest place to buy a house outside London?
Some of the cheapest cities to purchase property outside of London include the following:
- Liverpool: Liverpool has a lively cultural scene and attractive Georgian architecture. Property in Liverpool costs around 60% less than in London. Affordable suburbs include Allerton, Woolton, and West Derby.
- Nottingham: Nottingham is affordable, with good road and rail links to London. House prices in Nottingham are about 50% lower than in London. Reasonably priced suburbs include West Bridgford, Mapperley, and Sherwood.
- Birmingham: Birmingham is an affordable alternative with a lower living cost than London. Property prices in Birmingham are around 35% lower than in London. Popular suburbs include Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, and Edgbaston.
Where is the best place to buy a house near London?
The best place to buy a house near London depends on the quality of life around the area and the property appreciation trend.
Here are some places that usually perform well for buy-to-let investments:
- Commutable Suburbs: Towns like Richmond, Kingston upon Thames, and Esher offer a balance of proximity to London and a suburban lifestyle.
- Up-and-Coming Areas: Places like Croydon and Stratford have seen significant regeneration and offer more affordable housing options.
- Historic Towns: Areas like Windsor, Guildford, and St. Albans provide a mix of history, charm, and good transport links.
- Green Spaces: If you prefer a more rural setting, consider areas like Sevenoaks, Epping Forest, or the Chiltern Hills, which offer beautiful landscapes.
While London may be the first city that comes to mind when considering property investments in the UK, there are many attractive opportunities outside the capital. As you’ve read from this guide, cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, and towns in Kent offer solid investment potential, often at lower price points. The variety of properties, vital infrastructure, cultural amenities, and economic opportunity in these locations means your investment will likely appreciate nicely over time.
For the savvy investor looking for the best places to buy outside London, these areas could prove a rational decision that pays off for years. The next step is to contact an experienced property expert, such as your wealth manager or financial adviser, and move quickly to make a reservation. The UK property market is competitive, but with the proper knowledge and guidance, you can build wealth through real estate, even beyond London.