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Watford Buy-to-Let 2024 Guide

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    Everything You Need to Know About Watford Buy-to-Let

    Watford is a market town just outside of London. Only 20 minutes from the capital by train, Watford is perfect for a buy-to-let investor looking to enjoy the perks of the big city without committing to the substantial property prices.

    Still, Watford house prices can be expensive.

    In this buy-to-let guide, we’ll look at Watford’s house prices and rental market. We’ll measure Watford alongside the rest of the UK property market and look at different areas within the WD postcode, comparing yields and amenities.

    Read on for more information.

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      St Andrew's clock tower in Watford

      Buy-to-Let Property Prices in Watford

      While Watford is close to the city, property prices are lower than buy-to-let property in London. However, prices are still considerably more expensive than the national average.

      According to the HM Land Registry UK House Price Index, the average property price in Watford is £387,060.

      Let’s break the average price down by property type.

      • Detached properties in Watford cost £948,805 on average.
      • Semi-detached properties cost £526,793.
      • Terraced homes cost £414,427.
      • Flats cost £272,253.

      The average UK house price is £291,044.

      This makes Watford 28.31% more expensive than the national average.

      However, house prices in London are £527,979. This makes Watford 30% cheaper than London.

      So, while prices are more expensive than average, Watford represents a good alternative for investors looking for a property that appeals to London-based tenants but does not come with the same hefty price tag that investing in property in London involves.

      In addition, Watford is cheaper than the average property price in Hertfordshire (£456,377) but slightly more expensive than the average price in the East of England (£350,728).

      According to Rightmove, people bought terraced houses more than any other property type in Watford last year.

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      Watford Junction Station

      Buy-to-Let Rental Market in Watford

      According to Home.co.uk’s Watford Rental Market Summary, the average rent in Watford is £2,338 PCM, and the median rent is £1,800 PCM.

      The same summary puts the average rent for a room at £803 PCM, while flats cost £1,905 PCM and houses command a rent of £2,929 PCM, though the median rental cost is lower at £2,450 PCM.

      The average UK rental cost is £1,276 PCM (per the Homelet Rental Index), making Watford significantly more expensive for tenants.

      In the East of England, the average percentage of income a tenant spends on rent is 34.20%. As a whole, the region has an average rent of £1,208 PCM. This has grown by 9.92% over the last year.

      The average rental yield in Watford is around 5.5%. The average rental yield for the UK is approximately 5.2%. This makes it a better prospect than London, which has lower yields overall. For example, the City of Westminster buy-to-let market has notoriously low average yields.

      Watford may not be the best choice for investors targeting student lets, as the nearest institution is the University of Hertfordshire, which is relatively small and not close enough for easy commuting.

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      Buy-to-Let Investment in Watford: Area Breakdown

      Watford Town Centre and North Watford

      Despite only being a town, Watford has a good city living sector, complete with various property types, amenities and a good nightlife. You can find traditional terraced housing, apartment blocks and converted flats in this part of town.

      The northern suburbs include:

      • Knutsford
      • Cassiobury
      • Meriden
      • Nascot Wood
      • Garston
      • Leavesden
      • Leavesden Green

      These areas provide good access to Watford’s train stations. They also have good access to the M1, M25 and A41.

      Nascot Wood is a popular residential area with a village-type atmosphere. It is popular with tenants and buyers due to top-quality local schools and proximity to the train stations.

      Average Property Prices in Watford Town Centre and North Watford

      The average property price in WD17 is £552,911.

      The average property price in WD18 is £370,284.

      The average property price in WD24 is £412,029.

      The average property price in WD25 is £469,571.

      Average Rental Yields in Watford Town Centre and North Watford

      The average rental yield in WD17 is 2.98%.

      The average rental yield in WD18 is 4.38%.

      The average rental yield in WD24 is 4.73%.

      The average rental yield in WD25 is 3.92%.

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        Watford canal view

        Eastern Watford

        Areas in this part of Watford include:

        • Oxhey
        • Bushey
        • Bushey Heath
        • Merry Hill

        These areas sit on the fringes of north London. They are popular residential locations with good access to London Overground stations, Carpenders Park and Bushey. Property prices are expensive in this part of town.

        Average Property Price in WD23

        The average property price in WD23 is £632,398.

        Average Rental Yield in WD23

        The average rental yield is 3.13%.

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          Watford street view

          Southern Watford

          Southern Watford includes Eastbury and South Oxhey. The areas lead into Northwood, part of the London Borough of Hillingdon. Commuters can access the Northwood Station from these locations, allowing travel into London via the Metropolitan Line.

          Average Property Price in Southern Watford

          The average property price in WD19 is £490,098.

          Average Rental Yield in Southern Watford

          The average rental yield in WD19 is 3.65%.

          (Average property prices were taken from Rightmove in late 2023, and gross rental yield estimates were calculated with figures from housesforsaletorent.co.uk in the same period)

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            Why You Should Consider a Buy-to-Let Investment in Watford

            Proximity to London

            Watford is well-placed for commuting into London. As such, it attracts people who are happy to live outside the capital and travel into the city for work. Interestingly, catching the train from Watford to London is quicker than commuting from parts of London itself. You can reach Euston in 20 minutes.

            As such, Watford attracts businesses who want to be close to the capital without paying over the odds for commercial space. This, in turn, brings people to the area for work who will need new homes, boosting the residential market.

            Excellent Transport Links

            Watford offers fantastic transport connections across the country via road, rail or sky.

            Watford is close to the M1 and M25 London Orbital Motorway. It is also on the Metropolitan line of the Underground. Meanwhile, trains in Watford Junction and Watford High Street serve the London Overground network.

            The national rail runs from Watford Junction, Garston and Watford North, connecting Watford to the wider UK.

            London Luton Airport is only 30 minutes away by car.

            modern apartment building in city. front exterior of newly built apartment block with balconies. city living in the UK

            Watford New-Builds

            Watford is a very popular place of residence, which has led to a high demand for available rental properties. In particular, new builds are a popular choice as Watford tenants compete for high-quality homes. According to a Dataloft report, around 45% of those moving to Watford are coming from London, meaning these new tenants are used to paying a premium on their rent and are willing to pay more for good quality.

            But there is also a need for affordable housing, so the Watford Borough Council are working with various partners to encourage sustainable new-build housing strategies in Watford.

            In terms of private developments, new build developments are quite common in Watford due to the prime location. New builds are usually concentrated in these high-demand areas close to London and major cities like Manchester and Liverpool.

            However, Watford is generally an expensive area to invest in, so new-build properties usually come with a luxury price tag.

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              Off-Plan Property in Watford

              New-build properties are currently in high demand from investors and tenants alike, making off-plan property investment an increasingly popular strategy.

              As the town is an in-demand area for affluent renters, with reasonable proximity to London, there are various opportunities to invest off-plan in Watford. Investing off-plan is one way to get a good deal on a new-build property, but Watford and the surrounding area are still known to be very expensive. Cheaper areas of London could be worth looking at, including off-plan property in Dagenham.

              Investing off-plan involves purchasing a property while still in the construction/development stage, so the overall price is usually below market value. There are also flexible payment plans, meaning costs are spread out to offer more affordability.

              But it’s worth remembering that there are more affordable off-plan options in major cities in the North of England – such as Liverpool and Manchester.

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                How Does Watford Compare to Other UK Regions When it Comes to Buy-to-Let?

                For those interested in investing in property in the UK, it’s essential to engage with the latest projections and analysis.

                Recent predictions suggest that the South is likely to become more expensive over the next few years, with rental yields becoming less lucrative. According to this data, Watford is expected to follow a similar track.

                With an average property price 28% more expensive than the national average and rental yields barely surpassing the national average, Watford could represent a meagre buy-to-let opportunity for property investors.

                Investors looking for cheap buy-to-let properties could find more affordable properties in North West cities like Liverpool and Manchester, where rental yields typically exceed the national average.

                That being said, Watford is not without its perks. The town manages to strike a balance between city living and an added rural charm. Its proximity to London is a huge selling point and makes the area desirable to many potential tenants. As such, the buy-to-let market enjoys high tenant demand, even if prices are steep.

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                Want to Invest in Watford?

                Watford represents a solid alternative to London’s buy-to-let market, especially if you want to stay in the South. However, property investors may want to consider other areas to maximise ROI and see greater capital appreciation.

                To find out more about other buy-to-let locations in the UK, take a look at some of our latest insights:

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                Author

                Dale Barham

                Dale is a property content writer at RWinvest. Keeping a close eye on the UK property market, Dale helps our readers stay informed and up to date on the latest market news and statistics.

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