An aerial view of Sunderland city.

Sunderland is a vibrant city in the North East of England known for its rich industrial heritage and scenic coastal beauty. Once a powerhouse of shipbuilding and coal mining, Sunderland has transformed into a modern city with a strong sense of community and a growing economy. Its strategic location between the River Wear and the North Sea offers a unique blend of urban life and natural beauty. You may be looking to invest in a buy-to-let in Sunderland and are wondering if it’s a worthwhile investment.

Pier in Sunderland.

Once one of the most deprived areas in the country post-WW2, Sunderland has since started transforming into a bustling cultural and economic hub and is well on its way to offering some of the best investment opportunities in England. 

Why invest in Sunderland

Investing in Sunderland’s property market is becoming increasingly attractive for several reasons. Sunderland has seen an evolving economy after the demise of the shipping industry between the 1930s and 1960s, and as a result of this, coal mines have been replaced with offshore wind farms facilitating the colossal opportunity for green energy production. Also, with its history in shipbuilding skills, Sunderland has become adept in automotive manufacturing and big names like Nissan maintaining a big plant in the area. 

As a result of this, there are ample job opportunities facilitating further growth for the city. Alongside this thriving economy lies the University of Sunderland which attracts over 15,000 new students each year and equally creates a surplus of new young professionals for the job market. 

Also, Sunderland’s affordability compared to other UK cities makes it a lucrative option for investors. 

Regeneration projects in Sunderland

Sunderland is undergoing significant regeneration, which is dramatically transforming its landscape and economy. Major projects like the Riverside Sunderland development aim to create a vibrant mixed-use space along the riverfront. 

Other projects include the revitalisation of the city centre, improvements in transport infrastructure, and the development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park. These initiatives are not only enhancing the city’s appeal but also boosting its property market.

Some examples of other regeneration projects taking place through Sunderland City Council include: 


  • Investment corridors: The project aims to align investment to specific routes within the city centre and to facilitate private sector development. 


  • Minster quarter: The vision for this project is to create a cultural hub and a gateway into Sunderland’s city centre. 


  • Seafront: The aim of this project is to ensure that by 2025 Roker and Seaburn facilitate key tourist attractions. 

  • Sunderland strategic transport corridor: planned as a continuous dual carriageway which links land at the A19 and the city centre

  • Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage: After winning a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the council will be implementing building restoration and enhancement works, public realm improvements to Town Park and delivering public activities and education.


  • Northern Gateway: The aim of this project is to create a direct route to the city via North Bridge Street, and to improve access to the east by facilitating two-way traffic on Dame Dorothy Street.


  • Northern Spire: The creation of this bridge has alleviated traffic congestion, not to mention the 6,000 jobs that were created to build the bridge.

The Northern Spire bridge in Sunderland.

Things to do in Sunderland

Sunderland offers a variety of attractions and activities. The city is home to stunning beaches, such as Roker and Seaburn, and beautiful parks like Herrington Country Park

Cultural enthusiasts will enjoy the Sunderland Empire Theatre and the National Glass Centre. The city also hosts exciting events, including the Sunderland Airshow and the International Festival of Glass.

History and heritage

Explore Sunderland’s fascinating connection with George Stephenson, the father of railways, at the Hetton Colliery Railway. This is a perfect spot to dig into the city’s pioneering role in the evolution of modern railways and its rich mining history. Or, travel back in time with a visit to Hylton Castle, the second oldest building in Sunderland, constructed by Sir William Hylton before 1400. 

There are many activities that residents will be able to enjoy with their families in Sunderland. 

Student life

The University of Sunderland is home to approximately 20,000 students, paving the way forward for you, as a landlord, to invest in student or shared accommodation; this is a great way to expand your property portfolio. 

Sunderland students are dotted all around the city, but popular areas for students include the city centre, Millfield, Pallion and Ashbrooke.

Property market in Sunderland

As of November 2023, the average property price in Sunderland was £165,000, according to Rightmove. The national average for property prices sits at £291,000 which means that Sunderland offers more affordable investment opportunities. 

The rental yields in Sunderland also sit higher than in other areas of the country and with great transport links to the North of England and Scotland, Sunderland instantly becomes a hub for growth. 

According to Property Investments UK, in 2023 “the SR1 postcode in Sunderland offered the 8th strongest yields in the country” (“The Best Areas of Sunderland to Invest in Buy-to-Let”), providing great opportunities for landlords. 

The high rental yields, along with the high student population and urban-meets-coastal lifestyle, makes Sunderland a great place to invest in a buy-to-let. 

The best areas to invest in a buy-to-let in Sunderland

When considering a buy-to-let investment in Sunderland, certain areas stand out. The city centre, with its proximity to the university and amenities, is highly desirable for renters. Also, the suburbs and coastal areas offer appealing options for those seeking a balance between city life and tranquillity.

Top 5 areas to invest in 

Let’s take a look at the top 5 areas to invest in buy-to-let properties in Sunderland in more detail so that you can make informed decisions. 

Sunderland City Centre

Sunderland’s city centre is probably one of the most lucrative areas to invest in with rental yields as high as 8.5%, and an average property price of £76,000. As discussed, there are also major regeneration projects taking place in the city centre, which adds to the value of investing in the area, making for strong capital appreciation and great rental income. 


Being situated near the coastline means that the area’s popularity instantly increases and is only a few miles north of the city centre. Due to the area’s appeal for watersports and sunbathing, Seaburn’s demand for property has also increased. 

The average rental yield in Seaburn sits at 3.3% with an average property price of £249,879.


With Victorian-era properties, Ashbrooke is known as being one of the city’s first suburbs. Property here is highly desirable and attractive to tenants due to being within cycling distance from the city centre and very near to the university. This inevitably creates a massive opportunity for landlords to invest in student accommodation. 

The average property price sits at £178,397 and holds an average rental yield of 4.39%.  


Fulwell is situated near the city centre and is rife with young professionals and families looking to be within a short distance of the city centre. The type of property found in this area date back to the 19th century and includes the Fulwell Mill. 

The demand for property in Fulwell is high and landlords can definitely benefit from the high rental yields, which range from 3.7% to 6.1%.

High Barnes

Situated just 20 minutes from the city centre, High Barnes is a popular residential area that also offers a more laid-back way of living with green spaces like Barnes Park. This area is more popular amongst young families due to being situated near local schools and nearby shopping facilities. High Barnes has great transport links which makes the A19 easily accessible and connects Sunderland with the rest of the region. 

Average property prices range from £90,000 to £150,000 and have rental yields of between 4.4% to 5.2%. 

Sunderland has a lot to offer its residents and you, as a landlord, can leverage the opportunities that this city has to offer and use them to your advantage, creating profitable rent incomes and a diverse property portfolio. 

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