• Ireland maintains the highest rental yield (7.08%) in Europe for second year in the latest European Buy-To-Let League table
  • The UK drops 10 places to 25 and is now the fifth worst country for buy-to-let investment in Europe with yields at an average of 4%
  • Only Austria, France, Croatia and Sweden fare worse than the UK with average yields all under 4%
  • Malta, Portugal, Netherlands and Slovakia complete top 5 with yields all over 6%

Ireland is once again the top European location for buy-to-let investments, new research by WorldFirst has found. This comes as UK yields fall to 4% putting the country in the bottom 5 for buy-to-let investment returns in Europe.

In the latest European Buy-To-Let League table from WorldFirst, the international payments expert, Ireland’s average rental yield rose to 7.08% from 6.54% in 2016 keeping it at the top of the list. As Ireland’s economy continues its upward trajectory maintaining its spot as one of the fastest growing in the Eurozone[1], so too does its rental market.

The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in an Irish city has soared to over £12,000 making it the second most expensive country to rent in the EU after Luxembourg which costs city renters over £14,000 per year. And whilst sale prices have seen an increase, these have remained closer to their European counterparts with the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in an Irish city costing over £168,000.

Malta, Portugal, Netherlands and Slovakia emerge as the next European hotspots with yields over 6%. All four countries have relatively low property prices yet rental averages provide an opportunity to earn a decent income.

Meanwhile, the UK’s stuttering rental market is beginning to hit buy-to-let investors with yields falling from from 4.91% to 4% over the past year. The latest findings also come a year after stamp duty changes came into play in the UK, significantly increasing fees for those investing in buy-to-let or purchasing a second home therefore making buy-to-let even less of an attractive investment option.

Also sitting at the bottom of the table are Sweden, Croatia, France and Austria all providing returns of less than 4% due to high property prices and a stagnant rents. Sweden takes last place for the third time due to its tightly controlled rental market.

2017 Rank 2016 Rank Country Average Rental Yield
1 1             (-) Ireland 7.08%
2 8          (+6) Malta 6.64%
3 3             (-) Portugal 6.43%
4 2          (-2) Netherlands 6.27%
5 9         (+4) Slovakia 6.12%
6 4          (-2) Belgium 5.96%
7 6          (-1) Turkey 5.91%
8 7          (-1) Bulgaria 5.77%
9 11       (+2) Cyprus 5.70%
10 5          (-5) Hungary 5.59%
11 10        (-1) Latvia 5.44%
12 16       (+4) Spain 5.39%
13 12        (-1) Poland 5.34%
14 13        (-1) Romania 5.17%
15 14        (-1) Denmark 5.08%
16 22       (+6) Slovenia 4.59%
17 18       (+1) Estonia 4.55%
18 20       (+2) Finland 4.52%
19 17        (-2) Czech Republic 4.47%
20 19        (-1) Greece 4.40%
21 21         (-) Lithuania 4.22%
22 24       (+2) Luxembourg 4.21%
23 28       (+5) Italy 4.08%
24 23        (-1) Germany 4.03%
25 15      (-10) UK 4.00%
26 25        (-1) Austria 3.91%
27 27          (-) France 3.82%
28 26        (-2) Croatia 3.82%
29 29          (-) Sweden 3.03%


For British investors, the falling pound has led to a significant increase in cost of purchasing a buy-to-let property with a one bedroom apartment in an Irish city costing over £12,000 more than it would have in 2016 and the same property in Luxembourg over £25,000 more expensive. Those who are lucky enough to have purchased a property prior to the recent fall though will see returns from rental income increase by up to 8% getting £900 more a year for a one bedroom apartment in an Irish city.

Commenting on the research, Edward Hardy, Economist at WorldFirst said:

“The correlation between a country’s housing sector and the health of the wider economy is clear. It may now be the case that the deteriorating dynamics of the UK’s rental market is sounding the alarm for a wider slowdown in residential housing and thereby broader economic wellbeing. While the UK remains in a purgatory-like state between EU membership and Brexit, long-term investment decisions have become increasingly difficult to make and falling returns for property investors could mark the beginning of the end for one of the UK’s most successful investment avenues of the past 25 years.”

Notes to Editors

Research methodology

Research conducted by World First UK. All property prices and rental figures retrieved from Numbeo Cost of Living Tracker, August 2017. Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. Full breakdown available on request

*Currency pair are of 29 August 2017 and 29 August 2016

[1] OECD, 2017 https://www.oecd.org/eco/outlook/economic-forecast-summary-ireland-oecd-economic-outlook-june-2017.pdf