Reading’s Halo Buy-to-Let Effect

PUBLISHED ON Jan 22, 2020

A key destination in the London Commuter Belt and a cornerstone of the UK technology sector, the Thames Valley includes top Buy-to-Let investment markets such as Reading. After attracting inwards investment and many leading tech companies in the country, it has quickly become one of the top targets in the South-East.

As an affordable alternative to London, Reading has the ‘8th Best Qualified Workforce in the UK’ and is home to global brands including Microsoft, Oracle and PwC. A commercial powerhouse within a thriving regional economy, Reading is forecasting fantastic growth in multiple sectors.

With an estimated population of around 170,000, Reading is one of the most productive towns in the UK – ranked 6th in the country. This puts Reading as a key contributor to the wider South-East economy.

According to a recent report, Reading has the potential to be the UK’s top entrepreneurial hotspot providing it embraces digital technology. More effective use of digital technology by start-ups and scale-ups could boost the UK economy by as much as £34bn a year by 2030.

Readings has 8 times the UK average of tech businesses and nearly 42,000 professionals employed specifically in digital business, delivering a turnover of around £13.6 billion each year since 2017.  Half of its population has gone into higher education; the high number of start-ups and existing business in the area, including 11,000 digital and tech firms; and an ethnically diverse population, which helps drive entrepreneurship.

“Digital technology is critical to unleashing the full entrepreneurial potential of the SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups in our towns and cities,” says the report. “Better use of digital technology can help entrepreneurs in all industries.”

As London prices continue to stagnate, Buy-to-Let investors can take advantage of renters leaving London and where the demand will settle. It stands to reason that the Thames Valley is a key target due to the direct access it has with the capital alongside the property prices and amenities the region can provide.

The strength of the Reading labour market is a major signpost for investors, demonstrating an appetite for residential accommodation in an area that has constant professional tenant demand. Increasingly we’re seeing professionals choose London or Reading for work but then commuting to more affordable locations that are feeling the impact of the ‘halo effect’.

Regeneration is driven by inwards investment and indicates further growth for investors, especially when regeneration is dedicated to improving infrastructure. The £800 million train station redevelopment in Reading, has acted as a catalyst for the wider region, triggering regeneration projects in the surrounding area while also vastly improving the town’s transport links.