The east of England covers a huge area of the country stretching from the built-up London fringes out to the rural coastlines of Norfolk and Suffolk. In this report, we’ll try to pin down some of the main locations for property investment in the region.
Why Invest in the East of England?
The East of England region covers the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk plus some of Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire including some of the area known as East Anglia. The east of England is a large and diverse area, consisting of several different city, town and rural property-markets each offering different opportunities for property investors.
According to this report from the European Commission, the region is one of the fastest-growing regions in the UK, both in terms of population and economy. The region is also one of the wealthiest areas in the UK. It had the third-highest GDP per capita in the UK in 2017.
The east of England has a diverse economy too. While some parts of the east are very rural the cities like Norwich and Peterborough are important business centres. Cambridge is a major global hub for education, science and technology businesses.
Some parts of the east are just within the London commuter belt, which can be very good news for buy to let property investors. For example, Colchester is just 49 minutes from London. This report says that Colchester is the cheapest place to own a home and travel to work in London. The report also recommends Peterborough, Bedford and Manningtree in Essex as being up and coming commuter spots.
Property investors looking at the east of England need to know about London Stansted Airport and the docks at Felixstowe and Harwich. Stansted Airport is the fourth busiest airport in the UK. The Port of Felixstowe is the UK’s busiest container shipping port, and one of the busiest in Europe. These areas are employment hotspots offering lots of jobs and so can offer good opportunities for buy to let landlords.
The east of England also offers many different opportunities for student accommodation investment. Cambridge is home to the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University with around 60,000 students overall. Norwich has the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Norwich University of the Arts with around 16,000 students. The University of Essex has its main campus at Colchester. The University of Suffolk has campuses in Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.
There are plans to set up a new Peterborough University on a brand new site with 2,000 students by 2022. This could be really good news for investors who want to invest in student houses. Anglia Ruskin University already has a small campus in Peterborough.
Property prices in the East of England region are above the UK national average. According to HM Land Registry statistics the average house in the East of England region currently costs £293,928 compared to the national average of around £249,000.
Average property prices can be misleading and the average here is skewed by high Cambridge property prices. The eastern parts of the region tend to have lower than average property prices. Zoopla and Rightmove show prices as low as £50,000 in some places.
This report, quoting Savills, suggests property investors who consider in the east could make a very good return over the next few years. It says property prices in this area could rise 10.6% over the next five years, while in London they will only rise 4%.
Figures from the Homelet Rental Index suggest that landlords in the East of England region enjoy some of the highest rents in the UK outside London and the south-east. They say that the average rent in the region is £913 a month, compared to the UK average (excluding Greater London) of £793 a month.
Landlords and investors should bear in mind that there’s a lot of variation within the area though. Areas closer to London and hotspots like Cambridge have much higher average rents than other parts of the region. The BBC House Price Calculator can help give you an idea of likely average rents for your buy to let.
Robert Jones is a former estate agent, veteran property investor, educator and co-founder of www.property.xyz, one of the most visited and trusted resources for property investment in the UK.