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Revealed – high tenant demand and strong yields makes Bradford investor-friendly

As an investor, you will probably want to invest in an area with high tenant demand – and in many cases demand will be highest in the cities and towns offering the best value for money when it comes to rental properties.

According to new research from job search engine Adzuna, Bradford in West Yorkshire is the best value city in the UK for renters to live.

The research analysed average salaries from nearly one million vacancies, compared to average rental prices per city, to find the best and worst value places to live. 


The cities in the UK where renters spend the lowest percentage of their salary on rent are Bradford, Kingston upon Hull, Carlisle, Derby, Perth and Newport. You can see the full top 10 list below.  


Average salary (per person)

Annual rent price (based on two sharing)

Percentage of salary spent on rent 



£ 3,060.00


Kingston upon Hull


£ 2,802.00




£ 3,054.00




£ 3,456.00




£ 3,012.00




£ 3,918.00




£ 3,438.00




£ 4,212.00




£ 3,276.00




£ 3,960.00


*Based on two people earning average salaries and dividing average rent equally. Average rents from Zoopla. 

With higher-than-average advertised salaries and relatively low rent prices, Bradford secured the top spot as the UK city providing the best value-for-money for tenants. The city, which was named ‘the UK’s most improved city’ in 2019, has a decent-sized student population (the University of Bradford has around 9,000 undergraduates and postgraduates) and is a strong performer when it comes to buy-to-let yields.

According to Aspen Woolf’s ‘2020 Guide to Property Investment in Bradford’, the city’s Little Germany postcode is one of the UK’s top 10 destinations for buy-to-let and currently offers yields of over 9% – the third best in the UK.

Yields are less squeezed thanks to house prices which are some of the least expensive in the country, priced at 5.6 times the national average salary, compared to seven times for the national average house price.

It’s one of the region’s strongest local economies, is set to form a key part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda (with Northern Powerhouse Rail set to boost the city), and is likely to experience knock-on benefits when the HS2 line reaches Leeds.

You can find out more about Bradford – from improved connectivity and regeneration projects to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the main drivers of its local economy – in the Aspen Woolf guide here.

In second place in Adzuna’s research was Hull, the UK’s current City of Culture until the end of this year, which wasn’t far behind in terms of affordability. Carlisle in Cumbria and Derby in the East Midlands made up the remainder of the top five, highlighting a distinct shortage of southern cities among the best value cities to live.

It probably comes as little surprise that, when it comes to the worst value, London comfortably took the top spot, being a city where more than half (53.03%) of renters’ salary will go on rent. For all of the capital’s obvious qualities, from a cultural, employment, leisure and foodie point of view, it doesn’t actually score very highly on yields and is somewhere where investors are generally advised to stay away from unless they have very large and deep pockets.

London’s high house prices makes initial buy-in more difficult, and even the city’s very large and thriving rental sector isn’t typically enough to offset this. 

Away from the capital, the list of cities providing the worst value for money for renters is dominated by the South, with southern cities accounting for nine of the ten worst value cities for renters. The London commuter belt continues to prove challenging when it comes to affordability, the research found.

York was the only city outside of the South in the top 10 worst value places for renters, with popular commuter towns such as Tunbridge Wells, St Albans and Brighton & Hove all featuring, while wealthy, historic, tourist-heavy cities such as Bath, Canterbury, Oxford, Chichester and Winchester all featured as well. 

With London and its commuter belt proving so unaffordable for tenants, it’s perhaps little surprise that many Londoners are ditching the capital for the North.

Recent findings from estate agent Hamptons International revealed that 13% of those that left London behind in 2019 moved to the North of England, over 50% higher than the number of Londoners moving north in 2016, and three times as many compared to 2009.

That said, the South of England is still the go-to destination for most Londoners who leave the capital, with 69% of those moving out of the city last year relocating to the south.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said its findings ‘definitely point towards more migration out of London in the coming months and years’, as the capital becomes increasingly unaffordable.

“What we’re seeing at the moment is workers beginning to see northern England as an aspirational and affordable place to live, as they get priced out of London and other areas on the commuter belt,” he said. 

“We’ve seen fantastic developments in northern cities in the past year, notably Channel 4 moving its offices to Leeds, as businesses begin to recognise the talent that exists outside of London. We predict this will continue and we’ll see further growth in cities across the UK, as the workforce begins to recognise the default for great work opportunities doesn’t need to be the capital.” 


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