A Gatehouse Bank index based on the vulnerability of landlords to voids, sales time on market and annual yield alongside other factors also ranked Winchester, Cambridge, Chichester and Warwick as the most difficult prospects.
In Winchester, properties for rent have been sitting on the market for almost a third longer at 248 days than in Bootle at 183 days, where the average yield was 5.6% compared with Winchester’s 3.1%.
Of the UK’s major cities, Manchester ranked 34th, Birmingham lay in 75th position, with Glasgow ranked 43rd. London – where high property prices famously shrink yields and deter landlords, according to Gatehouse – ranked 89th.
Edinburgh and London renters pay the highest rents compared to earnings and these cities came bottom (121st and 122nd) when ranking this indicator, with rents coming in at 73% and 92% of local average earnings respectively. Meanwhile Oxford, Guildford and Brighton all fell into the bottom five.
In contrast, the top three cities for affordability, all in the North of England, boast earnings-to-rent ratios that are three times less. Renters in Hartlepool, Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees can expect rents that are 17.5%, 19.6% and 19.9% of earnings respectively.
Charles Haresnape, CEO at Gatehouse Bank, said: “What our research shows is that famous Northern hospitality is not a myth. It’s a great place not only to be a landlord but also to live, with cities in the North and the Midlands performing much better across all indicators.
“Rental properties are let far quicker than in the South, which is no surprise when major cities like Liverpool and Manchester are within commuting distance of smaller towns like Bootle.
“What’s really striking is that in the areas that performed best, rental rates were far more affordable and this correlation underscores the symbiotic relationship between renters and landlords in areas where their investments could be deemed safest.”