Is Torbay the new hot spot for 'buy to let' developers?

Recent block lets in Paignton

Recent block lets in Paignton - Credit: Absolute Sales and Lettings

Across the country the property market is experiencing a phenomenal boom in rental prices and arguably this has been felt even more so in the South West.

Out-of-area tenants have been looking to move down to the area seeking a renewed sense of ‘work life balance’ away from the bigger cities after a year of realising that work which previously had to be done ‘at the office’ can now be carried out at home.

There are also considerably less properties coming to market with 50 per cent less rental properties available in Torbay this March than in March 2020 and 44 per cent less in April 2021 than the April prior.

This has been a considerable factor in rent increases as the demand for property from tenants is still huge.   

With regards to holiday letting, we have always known how beautiful Torbay and the surrounding areas have been, but this year, with heavy limitations still affecting travelling abroad, we are expecting a busier tourist season than ever before with Torbay re-instated as the ‘resort destination’ it was in its former heyday.  

Considering these factors above and the outside investment the Bay has already started to benefit from over the past year, this is encouraging news for developers looking to either convert or refurbish blocks into residential or holiday lets.

In fact, we have already noticed an increase in developers asking for our advice and putting in planning for just that.  

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As specialists in renting out and looking after this type of development, we have a few pointers for anyone looking to rent out their block.  

  • Seek advice from an agent BEFORE you start - a local expert could advise you on certain features which will make your block more attractive going forward that you haven’t thought of. Some of these things you may not be able to add in at a later date and they may also be able to recommend great local architects.  
  • Don’t cut corners - we understand that you need to maximise the value of your development but high-spec gets higher rents and also reduces on-going maintenance spend and keeps good quality tenants in place for longer.  
  • Location is key - yes, we are a seaside resort but not all areas will be suitable for holiday letting and some areas will attract higher rents than others. It is always best to check with your local expert first to check its suitability, we are always happy to advise. 
  • Vary your rental prices - varying the prices differentiates one apartment from another and moves properties into different search criteria on the portals, meaning that more people will see your block – it is often the lowest price apartment that attracts the consumer initially, it is then your agents’ job to up-sell them to the more premium offering in your block.  
  • Stagger the marketing release - with large blocks it is common for the first few properties to let quickly leaving behind a few ‘stragglers’ which can go stale on the market. By stage releasing the properties you can ‘let’ the first apartments before even releasing the next set meaning the block always remains ‘new’ to the market.  
  • Try to seek a parking solution and don’t be afraid to charge tenants extra for parking - if your block doesn’t have parking, see if there is somewhere nearby that permits can be purchased and factor this into the rental price.  
  • Put in place a managing expert - don’t leave the success of your investment down to chance, get a local agent who knows how to maximise the potential and then look after the block going forward. 

With recent successes in South Devon, we would love to help anyone thinking of developing a block in Torbay or Teignbridge and offer a free full property consultation to advise you on the best way to move forward with your investment.

Chelsey Durrant, lettings director at Absolute Sales & Lettings

Chelsey Durrant, lettings director at Absolute Sales & Lettings - Credit: Absolute Sales & Lettings