St Albans, Hertfordshire, is a top choice for UK investors who want solid, strong returns. Names by the Telegraph as one of the 20 best places to make money outside of London, this historic city is attractive for a number of reasons.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better-placed location. St Albans is 17 miles from London, with a commute that usually takes less than 20 minutes. That means it's packed full of successful city workers looking to rent desirable homes. It's also just down the road from Welwyn Garden City (8 miles away) and a short 11-mile journey from Luton and its excellent airport links.
Historic market towns are always a big draw in the UK, and the market in St Albans still flourishes on a Wednesday and Saturday. The city has a great mix of historic architecture spanning hundreds of years, with an iconic cathedral dating back to 1077 and a stunning clock tower from the 1400s.
Culture in St Albans is thriving, with live music, theatre, nightlife and sports clubs meaning that the city can hold the interest of younger buyers.
Unsurprisingly, property prices in St Albans are following an attractive trend.
Selling property in St Albans has dramatically improved last year (to April 2017), sold prices have been up 14% on the previous year and an impressive 26% on 2014's average of £436,858.
Currently, St Albans has an overall property price of £551,398. This average is pulled up by high-end semi-detached properties (averaging £643,214), but flats and terraced properties both fetch healthy prices (£322,620 and £499,014 respectively).
The Outer Metropolitan area, which includes St Albans, is well known for weathering even turbulent economic times with strong price growth, not often dipping below double-figure increases year-on-year.
Renting in St Albans is a secure long-term investment with yields solid without being unrealistic: a 3.5-4.5% return per year is easily achievable, with some developments offering closer to 6%. One-bed properties offer the highest returns, though two- or three-bed properties are more desirable to families and may be easier to let.
St Albans is a firm favourite with developers from middle-of-the-road right up to luxury. Apartments sell out particularly quickly, with discerning investors realising the ease of letting and quick capital gains opportunities. Even off-plan property gets snapped up, as we recently saw with the seven-apartment Oak Court development.
A current profitable trend is the changing of old commercial spaces into stylish flats, which generally gives investors a good choice of size to pick from. One attractive new opportunity is Forest View, a clever development which is changing a former workplace into 12 new homes in a variety of sizes.
For those who want a slice of the London pie without the stress and astronomical investment prices, St Albans is a sound choice. The location couldn't be better, the city remains desirable to a whole scope of home buyers and renters, and both capital gains and rental yields remain strong.
If you would like to know about investment opportunities in St Albans, get in touch with Daniels Estate Agents, where we can provide you with more information about new properties and development investments in St Albans.