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Commuter Towns Drive North West Property Market Demand

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    New Data Suggests Rising Demand in North West Commuter Areas

    Commuter towns linked to major cities have experienced some of the most significant rent rises in the last three years, and most of these commuter areas are in the North West, according to a new BBC article.

    The data, compiled by Zoopla for the article, explored the rise in rents for newly let properties in 65 UK cities and towns.

    Major cities like Glasgow, London, Edinburgh, and Manchester also appeared in the top ten, but changes to working patterns have made an impact, and commuter towns dominated the ranking in terms of the highest rent rises by percentage.

    Rapidly increasing rents indicate high demand, meaning property investors will pay attention to the fastest-rising areas when considering a buy-to-let investment.

    Further Reading: To learn more about property investment, take a look at some of our guides and insights, such as ‘What is Serviced Accommodation’ and ‘Safe Investments’.

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      Commuter Towns See Some of the Biggest Rental Rises

      The data shows the top ten largest UK rent increases between 2020 and 2023.

      The UK average for this period was 30.7%, showing that rental inflation has been rapidly taking off in the past few years across the country.

      Six of the top 10 areas compiled by Zoopla could be classed as commuter towns for major cities such as Manchester and London.

      In particular, Greater Manchester areas seem to dominate the top 10 for UK rent increases. Bolton rents increased by 38.7% in the last three years and nearly 15% in the previous year alone. Manchester followed this at 37.8%, while Wigan (35.5%) and Rochdale (33.7%) jumped by over a third. When it comes to where to buy in Manchester, commuter areas such as these are becoming increasingly popular.

      Luton is another commuter spot in the top 10 table, a town known for its easy access to London for workers who want to reside outside of the capital. Luton’s rents increased by 33.1%, over 3% more than the UK average. Buy-to-let property in London is becoming prohibitively expensive, meaning investors are paying more attention to outer areas like Luton.

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      Why are Commuter Towns Gaining More Appeal?

      The UK rental market has been characterised by the chronic supply-demand imbalance over the past few years. This demand has been pushing up rents at a rapid pace. The lack of available properties means supply has been unable to keep up with demand. Zoopla has stated that the number of rented homes in the UK has barely changed since 2016.

      But why the new focus on commuter towns and cities? According to the BBC article, the trend towards working from home and hybrid working has allowed some workers to rent further away from cities. The average rent outside of major cities tends to be lower, drawing renters to areas such as Greater Manchester, where they can also get more for their money and take advantage of more space.

      Agents say there has been ‘staggering’ levels of competition in areas with convenient transport links into bigger cities.

      Another reason is that a relatively strong jobs market, the return of students post-pandemic, and immigration have led to such high demand in cities that some tenants are looking further afield to places with less competition.

      This shows that demand is still strong in urban centres, although outer towns are also becoming more competitive. According to Rightmove, there were an average of 15 enquiries per available UK rental property at the beginning of 2024.

      To learn more about the UK property market, take a look at some of our latest buy-to-let area guides, which cover topics like Southampton investment properties and Norwich investment properties.

      Commuter Towns Drive North West Property Market Demand

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      Jessica Ferris

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      Jessica Ferris is a property writer at RWinvest, helping our readers stay ahead of property market trends with the latest news and statistics.