South Essex coastal towns are a buy-to-let goldmine, say experts

PROPERTIES in south Essex seaside towns are proving to be a great opportunity for buy-to-let investors, according to experts.

Research by property website Rightmove shows that Southend and Westcliff property ranks among the most profitable homes to let out across the country, based on the property’s original value.

Seaside town Clacton, also featured prominently on the list of coastal towns.

Experts have welcomed the news, believing it highlights the trend of city workers flocking to the coast.

Alan Kirkman, who heads up his own property consultancy, believes this is causing rent to “sky-rocket.”

Mr Kirkman, 61, who worked as an estate agent for nearly 40 years, added that there has also been a sharp increase in the number of retirees opting to free up cash and rent a home by the sea.

He said: “It is the same story as far as Southend, Westcliff and Leigh are concerned, good transport links, but also with a lot going on.

“I think landlords are seeing it as a sound investment, as demand for property is very high.

“The people coming from London will see places like Leigh as “low-rent”, and the rest of south Essex renters are being swept along with this.

“What’s clear is that they want the proximity to London, but to have the seaside culture too.

“You would also be surprised to hear the number of people retiring to the area, having freed up some cash, and are renting instead.”

Ben Farrow, an estate agent at Hunt Roche, in Eastwood Road North, in Leigh, described Southend as a rental goldmine and says that property is moving fast.

Mr Farrow, 20, said: “Right across the town there has been big demand. Thorpe Bay seems to have taken off recently, with a lot of the property being snapped for buyers or renters before it hits the stands or goes on Rightmove.

“From what I have found there are plenty of people cashing in on their homes in Barking and Dagenham to come here either as a buy-to-let investment or to live here.

“It is fast becoming a rent goldmine.”

Meanwhile, Rightmove believes that the interest in the buy-to-let property market from investors has bounced back following a stamp duty hike for the sector in April.

On April 1, a three percent stamp duty increase came into force for people buying second homes, including buy-to-let properties, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Figures in the first quarter of 2016, showed the average price tag on a home in Westcliff was £203,860, but by the third quarter of this year it had increased by nearly £20,000 to reach £223,268.

Sam Mitchell, head of lettings at Rightmove, believes this shows that the Southend and Essex market in general has picked up after the stamp duty rise.

He said: “Investor activity has bounced back following the stamp duty changes, though some agents report that many investors are looking to knock sellers down on their asking prices.

“This is to make up for the additional stamp duty they now need to pay,

“Essex and other commuter spots are offering investors the best total returns, and those looking at long term investments are also actively seeking out areas with upcoming improved transport links,”