New research is showing a need for buy-to-let investment and affordable homes in various towns and cities in the north of England. The problem of a lack of decent buy-to-rent properties is not just confined to London and its commuter towns. But for shrewd investors, they can get more property for their money if they look to the north of England, and they can help meet the demand for homes at the same time.

Findings from the Northern Powerhouse Liveability Index, which was commissioned by Your Housing Group, sheds light on where more affordable homes are required, as well as pinpointing the best places to live in the north. Interestingly, areas like South Lakeland and the Ribble Valley are in the top five most livable areas, despite higher housing costs. When combined with local costs, opportunities and average salaries, these are some of the best northern districts to live for their overall affordability. South Lakeland has higher house prices – an average of £254,500 – plus higher rents at £645, for the region overall, but the residents also enjoy higher-than-average earnings, at £27,300, and low unemployment. Bradford in West Yorkshire is in the bottom five. Although its house prices, at an average of £160,700 and average rents of £517, are lower than the average overall, the earnings at £24,400 are also lower, so many locals find it difficult to cover the costs of renting. It also has higher unemployment than the regional average, which exacerbates the problems. This liveability index is a new measure which looks at affordable housing as well as the wider picture such as access to jobs, the local cost of living and wages, plus good schools.

The five most liveable local authority areas in the north are South Lakeland, Fylde, Craven, Ribble Valley and South Ribble. The least liveable are Bradford, Oldham, Blackburn, Knowsley and Pendle. Both the most livable areas and the least liveable areas create opportunities for investors. Although house prices are higher in areas like South Lakeland, the rents are higher too. Rundown properties or properties which are ripe for redevelopment are also still available in some South Lakeland towns, while other properties would make ideal holiday lets. The Lake District is certainly a top tourist spot from Easter and throughout the summer months. Meanwhile, the least liveable areas will have housing stock and areas which are ripe for regeneration and, therefore, investment.

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