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From landlord to train-spotter – why location is everything when it comes to buy-to-let
December 15, 2014Article by Charlotte Ashton
A survey from Countrywide has shed new light on the way that proximity to a train station can impact on a rental property.
Countrywide’s findings are that properties within one mile of a railway station take an average of six days less to rent out than properties further than one mile away, thus reducing void times and increasing income.
The average person takes about 15 minutes to walk one mile. This seems to be the upper limit of how long tenants are prepared to spend travelling on foot from their home to the station (and vice versa) as part of their daily commute, meaning that homes further than 15 minutes from a station miss out.
Ray Withers, Chief Executive of Property Frontiers, one of the UK’s leading specialists in buy-to-let properties, comments,
“Accessibility in terms of local transport links is hugely important for buy-to-let homes. Tenants need to be able to commute to work quickly and easily and so the further a property is from a station, the less likely they are to want to live there. Of course, properties right next to stations also aren’t the most desirable due to noise levels, so the location has to be considered very carefully for every buy-to-let development.”
Making it count
This approach is evidenced in Property Frontiers’ own buy-to-let offerings, all of which have made their location count by providing easy access to the nearest railway station. In the centre of Bicester in Oxfordshire, tenants at Westbury Court (investment from £184,590) can be on the train to London Marylebone (a 50 minute journey) after just a short walk. In northern Oxford, the new Lakesmere Mews development (prices from £165,000) sees tenants able to reach the new Oxford Parkway station site after just a short stroll.
Young professionals in particular are likely to place substantial importance on the proximity of their home to a station, as they are roughly 40% less likely to own a car than older tenants. They are also nearly twice as likely as the average tenant to live in a rented home, rather than one they own (according to the Countrywide survey).
It is these same young professionals who are particularly keen to rent out the kinds of buy-to-let properties in which Property Frontiers specialises. Both the unrivalled city centre location of the company’s luxury Liverpool apartments (from £64,950) and the siting of Carnegie House (from £210,000) within just a couple of minutes’ walk from Harrow on the Hill Station (12 minutes from London Marylebone), have proven to have the winning blend of location and high spec interior so far as young professionals are concerned. The Harrow properties are set to gain further advantage when the latest extension of Crossrail is implemented.
Though buy-to-let landlords don’t need to quite become train-spotters, they do need to be aware of how the location of the property they are investing in will affect their returns. It’s one of the reasons that Property Frontiers undertakes such thorough due diligence before recommending a development to its clients.