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7 Best Areas to Invest in Property Near London

Introduction: Best Areas to Invest in Property Near London

It’s no surprise that London is traditionally the most popular place to invest in the UK, due to the amount of potential tenants, opportunities and amenities that it encompasses. According to Zoopla, over the last 20 years prices in London have risen by 239%, effectively increasing by nearly £450,000. This has made it one of the most expensive property markets in the world and a tough sell for investors.

Also take into account that since the 2016 Brexit vote, London has seen some of the worst property growth within the UK. Prices have fallen by nearly 15% in the inner core and after suffering a period of stagnation last year that has continued into 2019, affordability is still plaguing the capital. Amplified by a ‘wait-and-see’ approach that is affecting the entire market, London is no longer the top dog in the UK property market.

Instead we’re seeing the emergence of markets in and around the London Commuter Belt that are providing better growth, more affordable initial costs and accessibility with the capital. These locations are utilising inward investment to regenerate and transform their respective landscapes, building destinations where people want to live and work. With that in mind, where are the best areas to invest in property near London?

7 Best Places to Invest in BTL Property Near London 2020

Bracknell

Population (mid-2018 est): 120,000 – 125,000

Property Price Growth since 2014: 22%
Data sources for rental yields Zoopla

Bracknell Apartments Prices Rental asking prices Rental asking prices p.a. Rental yield
1 beds £149,288.00 £640.00 £7,680.00 5.14%
2 beds £203,421.00 £975.00 £11,700.00 5.75%
3 beds £294,410.00 £1,110.00 £13,320.00 4.52%

Bracknell represents one of the most exciting new markets within the London Commuter Belt, attracting incredible global brands while delivering an exciting new development pipeline that includes retail, leisure and residential spaces within the town. This is contributing to unprecedented levels of tenant demand and a population set to hit 141,000 by 2039 – making Bracknell one of the most rapidly growing locations in the country.

One of the major attractions of Bracknell for investors is the expansive regeneration the town is set to experience. With several phases of redevelopment set to run until 2032, the £770 million ‘Bracknell Vision’ has been kickstarted by the creation of The Lexicon – a £240 million development that features over 70 new retail, food and beverage outlets alongside brand names such as Fenwicks and Marks and Spencer. Future redevelopment includes several more public spaces as well as the creation of landmark residential building The Grand Exchange.

Commercially, Bracknell remains one of the key destinations for the UK technology sector. Already home to some of the world’s most established tech brands including HP, Dell, Honda and 3M, it’s continuing to contribute to a localised economy that is vastly outperforming the wider UK economy. These occupiers are also helping to attract a young, smart workforce – particularly those that are looking for exceptional job opportunities without giving up access with the capital.

Bracknell’s status as a commuter town also shouldn’t be ignored. Located just under an hour from London, Bracknell attracts a large number of London professionals that want an affordable living situation but also want to work in the capital.

New developments near London in Bracknell:
The Grand Exchange Prices from £289,950

Slough

Population (mid-2018 est): 164,000

Property Price Growth since 2014: 19.91%
Data sources for rental yields Zoopla

Slough Apartments Prices Rental asking prices Rental asking prices p.a. Rental yield
1 beds £254,985.00 £870.00 £10,440.00 4.09%
2 beds £275,620.00 £1,175.00 £14,100.00 5.12%
3 beds £276,951.00 £1,641.00 £19,692.00 7.11%

A commercial powerhouse and established commuter destination, Slough remains a property hotspot due to increased affordability, improved transport links and a £1 billion regeneration project taking shape. With property prices currently sitting at £379,254, Slough remains much more affordable than the London average of £628,416 and has seen much better growth over the last five years – 19% in Slough versus 12% in London.

In terms of accessibility, London sits just 11 stops away from the Slough station and will be boosted by Crossrail – a huge infrastructure project that is decreasing travel times, rail capacity and has already impacted the local property market, driving the prices of property within a mile of the station up by 60% over the last decade.

Slough is so well established as a commuter destination, nearly 46% of homes in the town are let to London renters escaping the unaffordability of the capital. In the 2011 census, Slough had 13,200 commuters into London, a figure that is estimated to have risen significantly.

In terms of regeneration, the Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) project is ensuring that the town is building new developments to attract a whole new wave of residents. From The Centre and The Curve – large-scale cultural spaces – to Crossrail and Western Rail Access to Heathrow, SUR is creating the infrastructure and leisure amenities that the modern tenant requires.

Commercially, Slough is home to one of the largest trading estates in Europe and features over 5,400 businesses including O2, Mars and Ferrari. Heathrow Airport is only 30 minutes away and plays a huge part for employment in the area – with potentially 40,000 more jobs being delivered via a planned third runway expansion. This has created a thriving commercial landscape driven by an ambitious workforce of both commuting and domestic professionals, contributing to the South East being forecast as the fastest growing region for 2022.

New developments near London in Slough:
Steel House Prices from £399,950
New Eton House Prices from £239,950

Barking & Dagenham

Population (mid-2018 est): 212,000

Property Price Growth since 2014: 23%
Data sources for rental yields Zoopla

Dagenham Apartments Prices Rental asking prices Rental asking prices p.a. Rental yield
1 beds £202,455.00 £915.00 £10,980.00 5.42%
2 beds £273,390.00 £1,189.00 £14,268.00 5.22%
3 beds £291,250.00 £1,513.00 £18,156.00 6.23%

Barking is at the heart of the Thames Gateway and one of six London boroughs involved in hosting Olympic events at the 2012 Summer Games. With a population of 185,911 at the 2011 census, Barking and Dagenham is estimated to have around 212,000 as of last year.

Located towards the fringes of East London in Zone 4, Barking is experiencing a reinvention that is putting it firmly in the sights of investors looking for the best areas to invest near London. With plans for Barking town centre being finalised, the council are looking to create a ‘New York’ style layout complete with thousands of new homes, a central park, a redevelopment of the train station and a rejuvenated shopping centre.

The majority of residential space is planned for Barking Riverside – industrial land that has room for around 11,000 new homes. It’s expected that over the next 10 to 15 years, around 30,000 people will move to the estate. It’s this regeneration that has helped Barking & Dagenham property experience a healthy increase of around 16% since 2018, suggesting that further regeneration will have a similar effect in the long-term.

Dagenham has also experienced a similar rise. Much like Hackney and Shoreditch, Dagenham has gone through a transformative phase that means it’s now comprised of 500 hectares of green belt land, making it highly attractive for residents.

Regeneration within the area is planned to deliver 35,000 new homes over the next twenty years and will create 10,000 new jobs, attracting a new wave of tenants that are looking to move out of the pricier zones closer to central London. With London City Airport, Southend and Gatwick all within easy reach, Dagenham has excellent accessibility with Europe.

Infrastructure improvements are also planned to extend the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), providing better links with central London and helping attract young professionals that want to commute.

Horley

Population (2011 Census): 22,000

Property Price Growth since 2014: 48%
Data sources for rental yields Zoopla

Horley apartments Prices Rental asking prices Rental asking prices p.a. Rental yield
1 beds £193,677.00 £860.00 £10,320.00 5.33%
2 beds £257,762.00 £971.00 £11,652.00 4.52%
3 beds £275,000.00 £1,651.00 £19,812.00 7.20%

A smaller town just a stone’s throw away from Gatwick Airport, Horley has emerged as one of the most desirable investment location in Surrey. With average property prices growing by nearly 48% in the last five years, it’s still much more affordable at around £350,000 compared to the average of say, Guildford at £524,000.

Horley has grown in strength as a commuter destination as professionals have been priced out of markets further north. Proximity to Gatwick, which is around five minutes away, means residents can easily jump on a holiday flight or – as is becoming more common – travel to Gatwick railway station for services to London Bridge and enjoy significantly lower costs travelling to work. For those who want a direct service, trains from Horley to London Victoria take around 30 minutes, making this little town ideal for commuters.

The council is also pushing a number of regeneration projects to ensure the town centre is safer, more attractive and can take advantage of more mixed-use developments. From improving pedestrian routes to supporting local businesses, the major aim is to ‘improve the vitality and viability’ of Horley town centre.

Luton

Population (2011 Census): 22,000

Property Price Growth since 2014: 48%
Data sources for rental yields Zoopla

Luton is recognised as one of the UK’s best opportunities when it comes to business investment and infrastructure. Located just 30 miles north of the capital – 22 minutes away by train – Luton’s world-class transport links makes it one of the UK’s most affordable commuter towns. Of course, Luton Airport ensures easy access to European destinations while plenty of road access makes the North more accessible.

In terms of business infrastructure, Luton Council announced a plan to invest £1.5 billion into the town centre in 2015; creating more than 18,500 new jobs, a 395-acre Enterprise Zone and a variety of mixed-use developments. The airport plays a huge role in the overall economy, buoyed by the EasyJet, Monarch and TUI headquarters stationed there.

Luton also has a sizeable student population. The University of Bedfordshire has a £34 million campus in the town, helping maintain and develop a professional workforce through a talented graduate pool. The campus has continued to see investment with nearly £30 million spent on the Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre.

Basingstoke

Population (mid-2018 est): 172,000

Property Price Growth since 2014: 17%
Data sources for rental yields Zoopla

Basingstoke Prices Rental asking prices Rental asking prices p.a. Rental yield
1 beds £166,708.00 £790.00 £9,480.00 5.69%
2 beds £201,378.00 £940.00 £11,280.00 5.60%

Rated the 3rd fastest growing town in 2018, Basingstoke has seen impressive price rises of 219% over the last 20 years. It’s expected that these rising prices will continue as the South-East grows at unprecedented levels – Basingstoke has been forecasted to experience cumulative growth of 12% by 2022.

As a key destination within the London Commuter Belt, Basingstoke offers direct access to London, Reading and Southampton in just 45 minutes. This makes it highly-attractive for London professionals that want affordability without losing accessibility to the capital.

Basingstoke is one of the top digital economies outside of London, with 7,000 businesses contributing to the wider commercial sector. As a top location for growing tech companies, Basingstoke is also home to huge global names including BNP Paribas, Fujitsu and The AA. The town’s commercial sector is diverse and has helped maintain an unemployment rate of 2.4%, significantly lower than the UK average of 4.2%.

The quality of life in Basingstoke is another huge draw for tenants – it holds a 96% satisfaction rating and is renowned for the lifestyle it can provide. With an exciting retail and leisure sector anchored by The Festival Shopping Centre, Basingstoke is also home to state-of-the-art sports facilities and cultural amenities.

With this in mind, the best areas to invest near London can be found throughout both the traditional and ‘outer’ commuter belt. With the private rented sector still on course to grow to 25% by 2021 – meaning nearly one in four will be renting rather than owning – now is the time to start identifying these potential emerging markets while they’re still seeing growth.

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