If rental yields form a crucial part of your property investment strategy in 2017, look no further than the North West of England, according to Rightmove.
The property website suggests that buy-to-let investors planning to expand their portfolio this year and looking for the best yields should consider places like Merseyside and Lancashire where near double-digit rental returns are typically available.
Bootle in Merseyside currently offers a yield of 9.3%, Birkenhead is 7.5% and in Lancashire Burnley's yield is 7.2%, while Accrington is 7.1%, Rightmove said.
The top locations when it comes to demand from tenants search for property on Rightmove is also currently dominated by the north, including Ashton-Under-Lyne and Oldham in Greater Manchester, and Stockport in Cheshire.
In London, more affordable areas such as Rainham, Bexleyheath and Erith came top as tenants looked for better value in outer London.
"Investors looking for the strongest yields could consider investing in certain areas in the North West where both demand and yields are high," said Sam Mitchell, Rightmove's head of Lettings.
She continued: "Those with a number of properties in the capital may find that tenants are more price sensitive, so setting realistic rent levels will be the key to avoiding void periods."
The new data from Rightmove also shows that all regions except London recorded an increase in asking rents in 2016, with prices up annually by 3%, just slightly lower than 2015's rise of 3.7%.
Northern regions led the way as the year ended, with Yorkshire and the Humber up 4.5% and the North West up 4.4%, overtaking the East of England that had been the best performing region until Q4.
In London, more available rental stock throughout the year led to a 4.4% annual drop in prices across the capital. In Inner London rents fell by 5.2% while there was a smaller drop of 2.5% in outer London.
The top five areas with the highest rental growth last year were scattered across Britain, with Swansea at number one reporting an 11.4% annual increase, followed by Gillingham in Kent with asking rents up 11.1%.
Bath, which comes in third with a 10.5% increase to £1,148 per month is the location that reported the highest annual growth for asking prices in 2016, up 17.8% to £485,491.
Looking ahead to the 2017 market, Mitchell added: "This year will be one of caution for buy-to-let investors due to tighter lending criteria and increased stamp duty.
"We definitely won't see the spike in Q1 purchases that we saw last year as landlords rushed to buy before last April's new stamp duty deadline.
"If the tax changes being phased in from this April lead to even fewer buy-to-let purchases and some landlords deciding to sell, then a tightening of supply in some areas will lead to increasing rents.
"We forecast that asking rents could rise by 4% outside London by the end of 2017, though in London prices are likely to stay flat."
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