Ten of the best: London buy-to-let hotspots offering biggest rental returns from Docklands to Brentford

Where prospective landlords can find the balance between rentability and potential price growth...

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The location of the property you buy to rent out will probably be the key to whether your investment proves a success or failure. You need to hit the elusive sweet spot between rentability and possibility of price growth. 

Depending on your budget, this might be a smart flat in Mayfair aimed at the expat market, a family house in the suburbs for maturing Generation Rent, or a sharer-friendly property in or near central London for young professionals.

Caspar Bell, research analyst at estate agent Chestertons, has put together a 10-strong shortlist of London locations, comparing rents and property prices with market performance, which all prospective landlords should consider.

1. Isle of Dogs

A cracking investment option, thanks to its proximity to Canary Wharf and Docklands. Billions of pounds’ worth of development money is pouring into this once-derelict East End industrial zone — not to mention a new Crossrail station. The area is forecast to have 110,000 jobs and 10,000 new homes by 2031, which means lots of opportunities to buy, and plenty of people to rent to.

The journey from East Croydon to central London is soon to take just 15 minutes making it an attractive prospect for investors

2. Croydon 

It might not be somewhere you would want to live yourself right now but Croydon is due to benefit from a £5.25 billion regeneration programme, which should reinvent the town centre. Westfield has taken over its depressing shopping centres and is promising to reboot them, west London-style. Furthermore, after East Croydon station upgrades, journey times to central London will be cut to only 15 minutes, making Croydon a no-brainer for renters on a budget.

3. Old Oak Common

As a longer-term investment, Old Oak Common is probably London’s most exciting prospect, with the potential for 24,000 homes over the next 30 years, plus offices and shops, and up to 55,000 new jobs created. Most important of all are the plans for a new super-hub station combining both High Speed 2 and Crossrail lines, which will be capable of handling around 250,000 passengers a day. 

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An estimated 24,000 homes will be built in Old Oak Common over the next 30 years making it one of the most exciting prospects for investment


4. Tottenham Court Road

With both Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith promising to pedestrianise Oxford Street if they become mayor, plus the arrival of Crossrail, the redevelopment of Centre Point and a series of smart housing developments in the area, the shabby streets around Tottenham Court Road are looking seriously in line for price rises. Renters will pay a premium for the ability to walk to work and walk home from nights out. 

5. Greenwich Peninsula

Another key regeneration zone, with thousands of homes being built in the hinterland of the 02 arena. By 2025 it is estimated that 28,000 people will live on the peninsula, which is twice the size of Soho, and it will have a public river frontage extending over a mile-and-a-half. Regeneration plans include two schools, independent shops, bars and restaurants and 48 acres of public squares and parkland. It’s well located for Canary Wharf workers, plus a new cruise liner terminal at Enderby Wharf should bring thousands of tourists to the area each year. 

6. Tech City

London is making its name as the digital capital of Europe and the growing cluster of companies at Tech City — which runs from the fringes of the City at Old Street east towards Stratford — is set to increase its employment capacity by 70,000.  Of course, plenty of these well-paid professionals will need somewhere local to live, while Crossrail stations at Liverpool Street and Whitechapel will only add to the area’s appeal. 

7. Royal Docks & Beckton Waterfront

Right now entry prices are cheap and the Royal Docks and Beckton Waterfront has been earmarked for 11,000 new homes, 6,000 new jobs, and is the location of London’s first Asian business park, offering a gateway from the Far East into the East End. Future expansion of London City airport could make the area into an international business hub. Custom House station is only one stop from the offices of Canary Wharf. The new Silvertown Tunnel will connect the Royal Docks with Greenwich and the new Gallions Reach footbridge will connect the Royal Docks with Woolwich.

Wealthy overseas renters are keen to find property in central Waterloo and South Bank, close to theatre, shops and restaurants

8. Waterloo and  the South Bank

Waterloo station is having a £400 million facelift, the Shell Centre is finally going to be redeveloped, and the South Bank is already inching its way into prime central London territory, putting it on the radar of wealthy overseas renters. The Garden Bridge will provide a spectacular route from Waterloo to Temple, and a Zone 1 riverside location will always command a rental premium.

9. Cricklewood/Brent Cross 

Another slow-burning option, this is a massive north-west regeneration zone in the making, featuring 10,000 new homes, three schools, new health facilities and high-quality parks and open spaces created — not to mention expansion of Brent Cross shopping centre. More than  £400 million is to be invested in the local road and rail networks. At the moment the area is rather dingy and regeneration will take several decades. However, if you are in a position to invest long-term, take advantage of relatively low prices today in the hopes of growth down the line.

A giant £4.5 billion regeneration scheme is planned for the Brent Cross shopping centre and the land in Cricklewood south of the North Circular Road


10. Brentford 

New shops, cafés, restaurants, offices and homes — notably Ballymore’s massive Brentford Waterside development — are transforming this overlooked west London suburb, which is also benefiting from a ripple of buyers and renters priced out of posher Chiswick and Kew. Transport links are good: trains to Waterloo take just over half an hour, and Brentford is close to the M4 and Heathrow airport.


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