Buy-to-Let Shift: Glasgow takes the lead as London slips in latest rankings


GLASGOW has been revealed as the UK city with the biggest rise in the number of buy-to-let properties in the past year, closely followed by Nottingham, Leeds and Bristol. 

Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest providers of small business and landlord insurance, analysed over 100,000 landlord insurance policies to reveal which UK cities have seen the highest increase in buy-to-let properties over the last 12 months. Glasgow has topped the list, with a 12% increase in the number of buy-to-let properties in the city, whilst Nottingham and Leeds came in second and third respectively, both with an increase of over 8%. London, whilst being home to over 40,000 buy-to-let properties, saw the smallest growth in the  number of privately let properties.

Top 10 cities for buy-to-let properties in 2023 according to policy data from Simply Business: 

  1. Glasgow
  2. Nottingham
  3. Leeds
  4. Bristol
  5. Leicester
  6. Manchester
  7. Birmingham
  8. Liverpool
  9. Edinburgh
  10. London

Edinburgh, the city with the biggest growth in 2022, slipped to ninth place this year after seeing just over 5% increase. Leicester experienced a similar drop; falling from second to fifth place in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, Leeds’ position skyrocketed to third place in 2023, after failing to even make the top five places last year. 

London remains unmatched for the total number of private rental properties available, with properties in the capital accounting for 40% of policies provided through the broker in 2023. Conversely, the capital has seen significantly slower growth – just 4% compared to 21% in 2022 – suggesting that landlords could be looking away from the capital for their property investments.

Rental property still considered a good investment

Despite the current climate, many landlords still consider rental property to be a worthwhile investment, with half (50%) saying that they would recommend investing in buy-to-let property.

Paul, a landlord in Warrington, said: “I would say that being a landlord is currently a viable financial stream and certainly has its upsides – we have managed our properties and our income stream carefully, and we have broadly seen the fruits of that labour whilst being able to provide safe, comfortable, affordable housing to our tenants. Whilst I know that at this moment in time it is more difficult to operate profitably, I still feel that investing in rental property is a sound decision.”

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented: “It’s heartening to see continued growth in the buy-to-let sector, with our data demonstrating that Glasgow is becoming an attractive spot for landlords to invest. Landlords provide housing to over five million households nationwide, but a combination of economic uncertainty, changing regulations, and rising costs meant there was no shortage of challenges facing the nation’s landlords in 2023. 

“Insuring more than 450,000 landlords allows us to gain first-hand insight into the integral role they play in the housing market, plus the challenges they’re facing. It’s important that landlords are given the time and information they need to prepare for significant upheaval in the coming years, so they can continue to provide much-needed housing for almost five million households nationwide.”

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