Is property still a good investment in 2024?

Property investment has been a solid way to turn a profit for decades at this point, offering tremendous returns on reliable and profitable investments. The past few years have been difficult for many industries once deemed dependable, as market volatility and economic uncertainty take hold.

So, if you're considering property investment through the lens of the current market landscapes, it helps to know what the future for this industry will look like. In this article, we'll find out if property is still a good investment in 2024 by looking at the current trends, insights and opportunities for investors.

Buy to Let Trends

The buy-to-let market has seen some significant changes in recent times, such as the recent tax changes and significant rental price fluctuations. These developments have collectively reshaped the landscape for investors interested in buy-to-let properties. By understanding what's changing in the market and following the trends, you can gauge which investment is suitable for your portfolio.

Demand and Rental Prices

Demand for rental properties in 2023 was high, and this trend looks to continue into 2024. This rising demand has been driven by several factors, including demographic shifts, economic migration within the UK, and ongoing challenges for many first-time buyers securing mortgage finance. The urban exodus that began during the pandemic has stabilised, and cities are again experiencing a resurgence in rental demand, particularly in areas with employment opportunities and lifestyle amenities.

Rental prices have seen a varied trajectory across the UK but have risen around 7 % on average across the board. In major cities such as London, Manchester, and Birmingham, rental prices continue to climb rapidly, fueled by renewed demand and the premium on space that followed the pandemic's peak. Conversely, in some suburban areas, the increase in rental prices has moderated as the market adjusts to the influx of remote workers settling outside traditional commuting zones.

Regulatory Changes

In recent years, significant regulatory changes have been seen impacting buy-to-let investors. These include increases in stamp duty for second homes, stricter lending criteria, and enhanced tenant rights. In 2024, landlords must also navigate the upcoming energy efficiency requirements, which mandate higher Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings. Properties failing to meet these standards might be harder to rent and face penalties, leading to additional costs for landlords.

Furthermore, the introduction of new rental reforms aimed at providing greater security to tenants, such as the abolition of 'no fault' evictions under Section 21, requires landlords to adapt their management practices. These changes make thorough tenant vetting and property management ever more critical.

Potential Returns and Risks

The return potential in the buy-to-let market remains strong, particularly in areas with high demand and limited rental supply. However, the returns must be balanced against increased operational costs and compliance with regulatory standards. Property maintenance, management costs, and compliance can significantly impact net rental yields.

Risks in the buy-to-let market include potential overvaluation of properties in hot markets, which could see adjustments if economic conditions tighten. The increasing regulation could also squeeze profit margins, particularly for those who might not be prepared or able to invest further in their properties to meet new standards.

Investors in the buy-to-let market must remain agile, keeping abreast of changes in both tenant preferences and regulatory frameworks while adopting the latest property investment strategies. Diversification within the property portfolio, such as investing in different geographical areas or property types (like residential vs. commercial real estate), could mitigate some risks associated with changes in any market segment.

Property Yield Analysis

Understanding property yield is key to gauging the profitability of real estate investments. Yield, often expressed as a percentage, measures the annual return on investment based on the income generated by the property relative to its cost or current market value. So, let's explore the evolution of property yields over time and glean insights into interpreting yield data to make informed investment decisions.

Evolution of Property Yields

Property yields have fluctuated significantly over the past decades, influenced by varying economic conditions, interest rate changes, and market demand shifts. Historically, yields were higher during periods of financial uncertainty or high-interest rates, as property prices tended to stabilise while rents increased due to heightened demand for rental accommodations. Conversely, property values often rise faster during economic booms than rental incomes, leading to lower yields.

In recent years, particularly post-2020, property yields in the UK have been compressed, especially in prime urban locations where proportional increases have not matched high purchase prices in rental prices. However, secondary cities and suburban areas have experienced a yield expansion due to growing demand for more spacious living options and better affordability than major metropolitan areas.

Interpreting Property Yield Data

To effectively interpret property yield data, investors must consider several factors and identify the best property yield hotspots. To help with interpreting this data, look into:

  • Gross vs. Net Yields: Gross yield is calculated before expenses are deducted, while net yield accounts for operating expenses, including management fees, maintenance, and taxes. Net yield provides a more accurate reflection of the actual return on investment.
  • Location and Property Type: Yields can vary dramatically based on location and property type. For instance, commercial properties typically offer higher yields than residential properties due to longer lease terms and the tenant's responsibility for maintenance costs. Similarly, properties in high-demand rental markets, such as holiday lets, or in areas with economic growth potential, may offer better yields.
  • Economic and Market Conditions: Economic factors such as inflation, employment rates, and consumer confidence can affect property values and rental prices. Market conditions like supply and demand dynamics are crucial in determining yields.
  • Comparative Market Analysis: Comparing yields across different regions and property types can help identify undervalued investment opportunities. It's also helpful to compare current yields against historical averages to assess market trends.

Making Investment Decisions Based on Yield

Investors should use yield metrics as part of a broader investment strategy. High yields may indicate a potentially lucrative investment but can also signal higher risk, such as in areas with unstable tenant demand or economic volatility. Conversely, lower yields in high-growth areas might offer safer, albeit slower, returns through capital appreciation.

In addition to yields, investors should consider potential capital gains, property conditions, and the local rental market's strength. A comprehensive analysis combining these elements will provide a more balanced view of the possible investment's profitability. Although several tools can help with all this, using the yield calculator from Property Data can prove to be very helpful.

Rental Yield Dynamics

Rental yield is a useful tool for assessing the profitability of rental properties, as it measures the annual rental income as a percentage of the property's value or purchase price. So, let's look at the rental yield dynamics across various regions in the UK to highlight areas with significant rental demand and favourable yield prospects.

Regional Variations in Rental Yields

Rental yields vary significantly across different regions in the UK, often reflecting the local economic environment, housing supply, and population demographics. By understanding these variations, you can find the best areas to invest in property across the length and breadth of the UK. For instance:

  • Northern Cities: Cities like Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds have been experiencing a renaissance in rental demand, driven by economic regeneration, growing student populations, and relatively affordable property prices. These factors often result in higher rental yields compared to the national average.
  • London: While London traditionally offers lower rental yields due to high property prices, certain boroughs on the outskirts or areas undergoing regeneration may present better opportunities for higher yields. Areas with new transport links or infrastructural developments also tend to see an increase in rental demand.
  • Scotland and Wales: Areas in Glasgow and Cardiff are seeing rising rental yields due to increased local investment and population growth. These regions offer a good balance of affordable property prices and strong rental markets.

Strategies for Maximising Rental Yield

To maximise the rental yield, you can employ several strategies that will allow you to get the most out of your investment. These include:

  • Property Selection: Choosing the right property in the right location is something you'll want to get right. Properties near universities, hospitals, or major employment centres tend to have higher and more stable rental demand. Also, properties in areas with planned infrastructural developments can see an appreciation in rental prices over time.
  • Property Improvement: Enhancing the property's appeal through renovations and upgrades can allow landlords to command higher rents. This includes modernising kitchens and bathrooms, improving energy efficiency, and adding smart home features.
  • Effective Property Management: Efficient management of the property helps reduce vacancies, maintain property conditions, and ensure compliance with rental regulations. This may involve using property management services or adopting technologies that streamline rental processes, such as digital rental payments and tenant screening.
  • Dynamic Pricing Strategy: Employing a dynamic pricing strategy based on market conditions and seasonal demand can optimise rental income. This involves adjusting rent prices based on current market rates and possibly offering shorter-term leases during high-demand periods.

Build to Rent Investment Opportunities

The emerging trend of build-to-rent (BTR) investments has been gaining momentum in the UK as a lucrative avenue for real estate investors. This model focuses on developing residential properties specifically for rental rather than sale, typically offering purpose-built units with a range of on-site amenities. This form of investment unlocks several unique benefits, such as:

  • Steady Revenue Stream: BTR projects provide investors with a continuous revenue stream from rental income. Unlike traditional buy-to-let properties, BTR developments can offer more units in a single location, simplifying management and potentially increasing occupancy rates.
  • Market Demand: There is a growing demand for rental properties that offer flexibility and lifestyle amenities, particularly among millennials and Gen Z, who may prefer renting over buying. BTR developments cater directly to this demographic, ensuring a steady demand for such properties.
  • Economies of Scale: Managing a large number of units in a single location can be more cost-effective than managing scattered individual properties. This can lead to lower per-unit costs for maintenance, security, and administration.
  • Enhanced Tenant Retention: The focus on community and lifestyle can enhance tenant retention rates. Satisfied residents are more likely to renew their leases, reducing turnover costs and vacancy rates.

Sustainability of Build to Rent in the Current Market

As the idea of BTR investment is a relatively new concept, it helps to assess its longevity over time. The sustainability of BTR investments hinges on several market dynamics, so be mindful of the following:

  • Economic Factors: Economic stability and employment rates influence people's ability to afford rents, impacting the occupancy and rental yields of BTR developments.
  • Regulatory Environment: Changes in housing policies and rental regulations can affect the viability of BTR projects. Positive support, such as incentives for building rental housing, can boost the sector, while restrictive policies might pose challenges.
  • Urbanisation Trends: Increasing urbanisation and the rise of remote working have shifted where many people choose to live. While city centres remain popular, there is growing interest in suburban BTR projects offering more space and greenery.
  • Competition and Market Saturation: As the BTR sector grows, so does the competition. The risk of market saturation, particularly in highly targeted urban areas, could affect the profitability of these investments unless they offer distinct advantages over traditional rental properties.

Getting into Real Estate

If you're looking to enter the world of real estate in 2024, you stand to enter a landscape with the potential for lots of profit. Although market volatility is still an issue, you can come out on top as a real estate investor by considering the current economic climate and market dynamics. So, to help you get there, let's review some investment strategies, financing options, and tips for identifying profitable opportunities amidst market fluctuations.

Understanding the Market

Before you start investing in property, begin your journey by understanding the current landscape of the market. This involves researching local and national housing trends, rural and urban investment options, demographic shifts, and economic factors that could influence property values and rental demand. Investors should keep abreast of changes in interest rates, employment rates, and population growth, as these factors directly affect real estate markets.

Investment Strategies

Next, take some time to look into different investment strategies that you can employ. These might include:

  • Buy and Hold: This long-term investment strategy involves purchasing property and holding onto it for a period during which the value is expected to increase. Meanwhile, the property can be rented out to generate income.
  • Fix and Flip: This strategy focuses on purchasing properties at a lower price, renovating them, and selling them at a profit. It requires a good understanding of renovation costs and the ability to manage or oversee projects effectively.
  • Build to Rent: As discussed earlier, this is a growing sector where investors focus on constructing or purchasing properties specifically to rent them out. This strategy can offer stable rental yields and good growth potential in urban and suburban areas.

Financing Options

Securing financing is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in real estate investment. There are a few different ways to secure financing if you don't already have significant savings. Below are some common options to consider:

  • Mortgages: Traditional mortgages are the most common way to finance real estate purchases. Shopping around for the best rates and terms that suit your financial situation is essential.
  • Bridging Loans: For short-term financing needs, such as during property flipping, bridging loans can be useful. They offer quick, albeit often higher-cost, finance to bridge the gap between buying a property and securing long-term funding.
  • Investor Partnerships: Pooling resources with other investors can increase buying power and spread risk. This is particularly common in expensive markets or for larger commercial investments.
  • Government Schemes: In the UK, there are several government initiatives aimed at encouraging property investment, such as the affordable homeownership schemes, which can be useful for new investors looking to enter the market.

Identifying Profitable Opportunities

The final step you'll want to take before pulling the trigger and investing in property is finding the right opportunity. One of the best ways to do this is by using the tools and resources provided by Property Data, as this will unlock powerful analytics and in-depth data insights that can guide your investment decisions. While on your journey to find profitable opportunities, make sure that you do the following:

  • Market Research: Conducting thorough market research is essential. Look for areas with rising employment rates, planned infrastructural developments, or increasing rental demand.
  • Networking: Building relationships with local real estate agents, brokers, and other investors can provide valuable insights and lead to potential investment opportunities.
  • Risk Assessment: Evaluate the potential risks associated with each investment, including market volatility, tenant instability, and unforeseen maintenance costs. Consider the potential impact of regulatory changes, especially those related to property and rental management.
  • Diversification: Diversifying your investment portfolio across different types of properties and regions can reduce risk. For instance, balancing investments between residential and commercial properties or investing in different geographical areas.

Find Your Perfect Property Investment in 2024

While the investment landscape continues to evolve, property remains a resilient and potentially lucrative asset class in 2024. By staying informed about market trends, leveraging data-driven insights, and adopting strategic investment approaches, investors can capitalise on opportunities to achieve long-term success in real estate ventures. Whether through traditional buy-to-let properties or innovative build-to-rent projects, there are ample prospects for individuals seeking to get into real estate and secure sustainable returns on their investments.

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Transparent data promise

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

Averages shown are the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How do you know the square footage of properties?

We use proprietary technology to read the square footage of properties from agent floorplans. Although we cannot determine the square footage for all properties, we can usually get sufficient coverage. Agents are sometimes known to inflate square footage, and this should be borne in mind as a weakness of this data.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property "price paid" data provided by the Land Registry.

How often is the data updated?

Once per month when released by the Land Registry, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

You can customise the time period using the filter at the top of the view. The default time period is up to 9 months back from today's date. The latest data covers the period up to 2024-04-30, although some sales that took place before this date may still be added in the coming months.

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

What are the statistics used?

Averages shown are the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property "price paid" data provided by the Land Registry, and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data provided by Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

How do you know the square footage of properties?

We match the Land Registry data to EPC data provided by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. Due to the fact that not all properties sold have had an EPC and vagaries of addressing in the UK, we are not able to determine the square footage of all properties, but we can usually get sufficient coverage.

How often is the data updated?

The private paid data is updated once per month when released by the Land Registry, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month. The energy performance certificate database is updated monthly.

What time period does the data cover?

You can customise the time period using the filter at the top of the view. The default time period is up to 9 months back from today's date. The latest data covers the period up to 2024-04-30, although some sales that took place before this date may still be added in the coming months.

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Room let listings on SpareRoom, the UK's biggest room letting website.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from SpareRoom, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded. Yields are calculated by comparing only properties with the same number of bedrooms, e.g. 3-bedroom properties for rent with 3-bedroom properties for sale.

What is the yield calculation used?

The calculation used is (average_weekly_asking_rent * 52 / average_asking_price), expressed as a percentage. It is a top-line gross yield, meaning no expenses are considered.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated in near real-time.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from Zoopla, Rightmove or Spareroom, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Yields are calculated by comparing only properties with the same number of bedrooms, e.g. 3-bedroom properties for rent with 3-bedroom properties for sale. For the SpareRoom data, hypothetical properties consisting of two to six average double rooms with shared bathrooms are used to derived average rent. For all sources, listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What is the yield calculation used?

The calculation used is (average_weekly_asking_rent * 52 / average_asking_price), expressed as a percentage. It is a top-line gross yield, meaning no expenses are considered.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property "price paid" data provided by the Land Registry.

How often is the data updated?

Once per month when released by the Land Registry, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

Zoopla Zed-index

What time period does the data cover?

The data covers transactions in the last six years

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

What are the statistics used?

The average shown is the interquartile mean, a type of average that is insensitive to outliers while being its own distinct parameter. The 80% range means that 80% of the listed properties fall inside this range.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The listings data is updated in near real-time. The Land Registry data is updated once per month when released, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

The price paid data shown goes back to January 2015. The listings data is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

What are the calculations used?

Average sales per month are for the last 3 finalised months. Turnover is average sales per month divided by total for sale. Inventory is 100 divided by turnover.

Where does the raw data come from?

Property listings seen on rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk and onthemarket.com.

How often is the data updated?

The listings data is updated in near real-time. The Land Registry data is updated once per month when released, typically towards the end of each calendar month covering up to the end of the previous calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

This is a real-time market snapshot - the data covers currently listed properties. Once properties are removed from the portal, they are soon removed from this tab.

How is the raw data processed?

Duplicates from multiple sources are matched and reconciled as far as possible. Listings with obvious errors, where price or number or bedrooms appear out of range, are discarded.

Where does the raw data come from?

We receive data on the extent and corporate ownership of all land titles in England & Wales from the Land Registry.

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated once per month when released, typically in the first few days of each calendar month.

What time period does the data cover?

This is an ownership snapshot - the data represents ownership as recorded by the Land Registry at the last monthly export.

How is the raw data processed?

No additional processes are applied to this data.

Where does the raw data come from?

We source different expert forecasts Savills, Knight Frank, OBR

How often is the data updated?

The data is updated annually when new forecasts are released, typically towards the beginning of the year.

How is the raw data processed?

We calculate a consensus forecast using a simple mean average.