Landlords 'look to buy more property in areas of northern England'

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Landlords are increasingly looking to buy more properties in parts of northern England in a bid to boost their profits, according to a survey from an industry body.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) also found that, in contrast, landlords in London are acting more cautiously when it comes to adding to their portfolios.

Just 5% of landlords operating in London planned to purchase more properties in the next three months, down from 15% who planned to do so a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the proportion of landlords operating in the North East who plan to buy in the coming quarter has nearly doubled compared with a year ago - jumping from 10% to 19%.

The proportion of landlords in Yorkshire looking to buy more properties in the coming months has also increased from 10% a year ago to 16% now.

The NLA said landlords appear to be looking to areas where the up-front cost of buying property is lower, and the potential yields to be had are higher.

The yield is the annual rental income a landlord can expect to achieve as a percentage of the property's value.

Recent research from property website Rightmove found that Bootle, Birkenhead and St Helens in Merseyside as well as Burnley and Accrington in Lancashire, and Swansea and Glasgow currently offer particularly attractive yields for landlords.

Landlords' potential profits have been squeezed by a recent stamp duty hike for this sector, as well as facing tax relief restrictions.

An index from lettings network Countrywide recently found that rents in London have fallen by 2.9% over the past year, and in central London rents fell by 9.4% annually.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said previously: "Squeezed yields, fewer tax breaks and higher stamp duty rates are likely to deter landlords from expanding their portfolios."

Some 900 landlords took part in the NLA's survey.