One strategy that investors and landlords might consider, rather than trying to cover the full spectrum of the lettings market, is to focus on a particular sector within it. So in this report we will look at the medical accommodation market for doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
One factor which might make this market attractive is that medical demand tends to be concentrated in certain areas, near hospitals, where accommodation is often in high demand but in short supply so voids are rare and net yields are usually good.
Medical staff also tend to move frequently, especially in the early stages of their careers, making them more reliant on the rental market. Wage levels and a reliable income also appear to bode well for rents and yields in this sector.
The medical market is certainly a very large market to cater for. The NHS ranks as the fifth largest employer in the world with 1.7m employees. According to figures from the NHS Confederation (March 2017) the NHS employs 106,400 doctors, 286,000 nurses and health visitors, and 132,700 scientific, therapeutic and technical staff alone.
With regards to areas of demand, 80% of NHS staff (Fullfact.org figures) work in England. While it might be expected that the largest cities have the largest medical employment this does not always follow. According to research by Kable Healthcare several years ago the ‘top 10’ largest individual hospitals for employment were, in order of size: Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (London), Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, St. George’s Healthcare NHS Trust (London).