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Invest in Northampton
There are a number of reasons why many people see buy-to-let as a good medium term option: Nationally there’s a shortage of housing and unless we start building on a massive scale, it’s only going to get bigger. People’s lifestyles are changing so more people live alone, or in smaller family units, which only increases this demand. Pensions don’t seem to be delivering as they used to, so people are looking for other ways to fund their later life. It seems inevitable that as time goes on, the taxman will show a greater interest in buy-to-let, but that doesn’t stop an increasing number of people ploughing in on a monthly basis.
There are a number of reasons why the long term demographics of Northampton make buy-to-let investment an attractive option. The town is large, established, and conveniently situated bang in the middle of the UK. Within an hour you can get to London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge. We’re right on the M1 giving good access North > South. We’re also close to the A14 giving good access East > West. There’s a mainline railway station with train times to Euston from 50 minutes. In terms of airports, Stansted, Luton, East Midlands and Birmingham are all within an hours drive.
There’s a fair amount of industry here too. Barclaycard, Nationwide, Avon and Carlsberg have some of their main UK operations in Northampton, each employing a considerable number of people. There’s a big supply industry to Formula 1 here – a large number of F1 teams are based in Northamptonshire and Silverstone is 8 miles away, which means there’s a multitude of high tech and high wealth technology based companies. Equally, the convenient location right at the centre of the UK’s road network means there are a lot of warehousing and distribution companies based in the town. There’s a university, with over 14,000 students currently studying on a mixture of undergraduate, postgraduate and further education programmes.
A diverse town such as Northampton gives rise to a number of investment options too. There’s been a lot of property built in the last 10 years, which is always popular with tenants. There’s a solid Victorian Terrace market – the staple rental territory of many UK towns. Equally on the East side of town there are a number of ex Local Authority properties which can be acquired from £80k (ish), offer high yields, and enjoy constant tenant demand. Another 10,000 homes are promised in the next decade, once we’ve all had a row about where to build them!
Prices are reasonable too (especially if you're from further South!). Two bed houses are the bread and butter of any rental market, and these range from about £80k in one of the poorer areas of town, to £130k in one of the nicest new areas. For £100k to £120k you'll get something very rentable in an areas you feel comfortable with.
In short the long term prospects for Northampton look pretty good. I’m not from the town, but I set up a lettings business here and have a growing property portfolio of my own, which shows I genuinely believe that the long term demographics are good. Like all Local Authorities, Northamptonshire County Council has a glossy which tells you why this is the place to be and what they are going to do to make it better(!) You can download a copy here.
Richard Baker, Owner.