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The Netherlands is the most lucrative buy-to-let property hotspot in the EU according to study from World First UK



Francesca Washtell

Francesca Washtell is City A.M.'s vice reporter, covering the alcohol, tobacco

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The Netherlands has the highest rental yield of the 29 surveyed countries (Source: Getty)

You might have thought it would be somewhere coastal on the Mediterranean, or a country better-known for its second home culture such as Italy or France.

But the most lucrative buy-to-let market in the European Union turns out to be the modest, not-so-hilly, tulip-saturated Netherlands.

With the EU's highest rental yield rate in April, at 6.57 per cent, the Netherlands comes out on top, beating the close second and third locations of Belgium (6.47 per cent) and Portugal (6.29 per cent), according to research conducted by fintech business World First UK.

The Netherlands' rank is due largely to the relatively low price of buying property. The average one bedroom apartment costs just over £110,000 and a three bedroom house costs around £211,000. In the UK, the average price of a one-bedroom apartment is £179,000 and a three-bedroom house is £343,000.



1. Netherlands (6.57 per cent)

2. Belgium (6.47 per cent)

3. Portugal (6.29 per cent)

4. Hungary (6.21 per cent)

5. Turkey (6.13 per cent) 

6. Slovakia (6.07 per cent)

7. Bulgaria (5.99 per cent)

8. Malta (5.90 per cent)

9. Cyprus (5.41 per cent)

10. Ireland (5.34 per cent)


Hungary and Turkey finished off the top five with yields of 6.21 per cent and 6.07 per cent respectively, while Slovakia, Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus and Ireland made up the rest of the top 10.

Sweden, at the bottom of the poll of 29 countries, had the worst yield rate in the EU at 2.88 per cent, while the UK languished in the lower third of the league table, coming in at 21st place with a rental yield of 4.28 per cent.

France (3.22 per cent) and Italy (3.55 per cent) also have lower rental yields than their European neighbours and while they may make a great retirement or summer home for sun-seekers, they may not be ideal locations for buy-to-let investors - despite being established locations for holiday homes.

Read more: How to save when buying or selling property overseas

The research also revealed slight differences when investing in buy-to-lets in city centres compared to suburbs and rural areas.

For buy-to-let in city centres, Belgium took the lead with yields of 6.54 per cent. This is partly due to the dominance of Brussels as an expat destination for those working at or within the many EU institutions based in the city.

For properties outside the city centre, the Netherlands again has highest yields at 6.78 per cent, closely followed by Turkey (6.65 per cent) and Portugal (6.57 per cent).

Edward Hardy, market analyst at World First said:

With the recent changes to stamp duty tax for buy-to-let landlords, UK property investors looking to add to their portfolio might want to consider looking further afield to get the best returns. Our research shows that within the EU, the Netherlands, with relatively affordable property prices, holds the highest level of returns in Europe.

On the other hand, countries that have policies in place to regulate rental prices like Sweden and Germany offer relatively low yields for investors.

Our research also shows that locations which may be appealing to British tourists arenít necessarily the best options for property investors to get the most from their investments. Popular tourist and expat destinations like France, Italy and Spain rank relatively low on our buy-to-let scale.

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