In what follows, we’ll assume that your objective is to buy an investment property and subsequently let it out.
Some generic questions
It’s worth considering a few basic questions that would apply irrespective of the area you are considering:
- Do you know the area personally and in-depth?
- Do you have anyone locally in the areas you are considering who may be able to assist (e.g. property finders)?
- Do you know, in general terms, what the property market is doing in the areas you are thinking about?
If you answered any of the above questions negatively, then it might pay to think carefully before continuing – and to consult professional property finders.
Those questions apply whether you are discussing the coast, a city or anywhere else. They are the fundamental bedrock of the business investment decision you are about to make and saying no to any of them might constitute risk.
There is a tendency to think about the coast as a guaranteed investment location. One imagines golden sands, panoramic views and a high level of demand for rental properties.
All that may be true but only if you are looking at locations that are in demand! There are some parts of the UK’s coastline which are traditionally not sought after and which contain very little by way of facilities, tourist attractions or even pleasing views and countryside.
Selecting a property by the coast that is in what might be called a “scenic location” and one with some reasonable facilities might typically be a relatively sound investment. People like living by the sea and properties with a sea view in the right sort of location will typically always be sought after.
Be cautious though. It’s true that some attractive coastal locations are in high rental demand in the summer months typically running from perhaps June through to September.
However, some coastal locations can be far less attractive in the depths of winter and long-term letting can sometimes be more challenging. Remember also to be very sure you understand any flood risks that might come with the location.
There is no such thing as “a city” in an investment sense.
By definition, cities are large and will have numbers of areas within them. Some of those will be highly desirable already and others distinctly unattractive to many tenants.
Here, there is a slight difference between thinking exclusively about rental income and medium to longer term capital growth. Properties in already highly desirable areas may be very easy to let out for rewarding income but if property prices in the area have plateaued, the growth potential in terms of your capital over time may be restricted.
Identifying up-and-coming areas is what’s required in the typical city. Here you may be able to maximise not only your letting potential but also the scope for capital growth in your property over time.
Of course, you will need to do extensive research in order to be sure about that in the area you are considering purchasing in – unless you already know it intimately in property market terms.
There is no universal answer to the coast versus city debate.
Much will depend upon your hard-nosed evaluation of the statistics for the area you are buying into. If your knowledge of the area is limited and statistics are not exactly your thing, it might be advisable to try and use professional property finders to do the work for you.