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ISSUE 9 A guide for the discerning landlord

FEB / MAR 2015



Where’s best to invest in Cardiff?


What to expect from the buy-to-let market


Our guide to the best events across the UK


elcome to the Cardiff issue of City Focus in 2015 - we hope that the new year has got off to a flying start for you!

In this fun-filled edition, we take a trip to the welsh capital, looking at the city’s opportunities for buy to let investors, as well its heritage, places to visit and famous residents. Plus, for a chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher simply answer the following: According to City Focus, what percentage of Cardiffians currently speak Welsh as their first language? Email your answer to or tweet it to @citylandlord - one correct answer will be chosen at random on 20th March - good luck! Richard Anthony - Editor

DID YOU KNOW? According to legend, Ifor Bach (better known as ‘Ivor the short’) scaled the walls of Cardiff Castle with his bare hands and kidnapped the Earl of Gloucester and his son, refusing to give them back until he had recovered the land he’d lost in battle!

Landlords save using social media! Landlords are saving thousands of pounds by ditching letting agents and using social media to find tenants. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer landlords a free public platform to advertise to prospective tenants, cutting out unnecessary costs and boosting overall returns. High street letting services generally fall into two categories, there are the ‘let-only’ services, where agents find and set up the tenancy. This usually costs 10% of the annual rental income. And ongoing management services – where the tenant calls the agent if there is a problem – which typically costs 15% of the annual rental income.

For example, a property with a monthly rental income of £750 – or £900 a year - will incur charges of up to £900 and £1350 respectively. Sanjay Aggarwal, 31, from Birmingham, manages his father’s portfolio of 20 buy-tolet properties. He was paying thousands of pounds to high street letting agents to find tenants, before saving money by doing it himself. “As a recruiter, I have more than 2,500 contacts on LinkedIn. They’re all working professionals so are exactly the type of tenants I’m after. All I need to do is send a message to my online contacts with a description of the property and a link to the full posting on a listings website like Gumtree.” It is important to remember however that when it comes to managing properties, letting agents still offer many services that social media does not – such as full tenant referencing - and that if you are in doubt you should always seek assistance from property professionals.


In each issue we take a sneaky look at what’s been going on in rental properties across the UK

Agent who stole £375,000 gets 32 months in prison

Cornwall HMO landlord fined

A letting agency franchise holder has been jailed after stealing £375,000 from clients.

A restaurant owner in Cornwall has been ordered to pay £24,000 for letting an unsafe flat to 10 workers.

Janine Pickett - who ran the Dorset Lettings office at Shaftesbury - allegedly used the money on a down-payment for a BMW, holidays to north America, Europe and the Caribbean, and to buy several Welsh ponies.

In a prosecution brought by Cornwall Council, Jin Ming Cao of the Dynasty Restaurant, Cross Road, pleaded guilty to offences under the Housing Act 2004 at a hearing at Truro Magistrates Court on 6th January 2015.

Dorchester Crown Court heard that between January 2010 and November 2013 Pickett altered documents including bank statements and financial audit records in an attempt to cover up the theft.

The prosecution identified significant health and safety hazards within a seven bedroom flat above the restaurant, which was occupied by up to 10 workers, all of Chinese origin.

She has now been jailed for 32 months after pleading guilty to a charge of fraud by abuse of position.

Conditions within the flat were of concern to the investigating environmental health officer who considered the flat to be a major health and safety risk to the occupants.


[ CARDIFF ] - Each issue we shine our spotlight on a different part of the UK, focussing on what it has to offer everyone from property developers to casual daytrippers.

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ardiff is a prosperous city with fantastic transport links to both London and Birmingham. As the capital of Wales, the city is the main engine of the Welsh economy. Although the population of Cardiff is only around 10% of the Welsh population, the economy makes up nearly 20% of Welsh GDP, with around 40% of the city’s workforce thought to commute in from surrounding areas. The city also has a strong student population and is home to four higher education institutions: Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan, University of South Wales and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

Digital hotspot Cardiff has a blossoming status as the most digitally connected city in the UK – a £10.2m ‘super-connected cities’ scheme will roll out free-to-access high-speed wi-fi across the city, making it a European digital hotspot. Cardiff is also home to the Welsh media sector, with BBC Wales, S4C and ITV Wales all having studios in the city. There is a large independent TV production scene of over 600 companies too, employing around 6,000 employees, with an estimated turnover of £350m.

Language Welsh was the majority language in Cardiff from the 13th century until the city’s explosive growth in the Victorian era when English took over as the first language. By 1891, the percentage of Welsh speakers had dropped to 27.9% and only Lisvane, Llanedeyrn and Creigiau remained as majority Welsh-speaking communities. It is estimated that just 11% of Cardiffians now speak Welsh as their first language.

Employment Public administration, education and health are currently the largest employment sectors in Cardiff, with 32% of the city’s workforce concentrated in these areas. Cardiff is also the main financial and business services centre in Wales, these industries provide employment for 20% of the city’s workforce. The city had a recent unemployment rate of 4.4% and although this represents an increase from the 2.2% recorded in 2004, it compares favourably with the Wales average of 5.2% and the United Kingdom average of around 8%. Although Cardiff has the worst crime rate in Wales, the figure has fallen 47% since 20022003.

Commercial Cardiff’s main commercial activity centres around Queen Street and St. Mary Street in the city centre, there are also large retail parks located in Cardiff Bay, Culverhouse Cross, Leckwith, Newport Road and Pontprennau. In 2009, a £675 million regeneration of the St. David’s Centre was completed, creating 1,400,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. The centre was named the international shopping centre of the year in 2010 by Retail Leisure International.

DID YOU KNOW? Doctor Who, Casualty and Holby City are all filmed at BBC Cymru Wales’ drama village

Connections Cardiff Central railway station is the largest railway station in Wales with over 10 million passengers a year passing through. It provides direct services to nearby Bridgend and Newport and ‘Cross-Wales’ services to Wrexham and Holyhead, and major UK cities such as Birmingham, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Where to Invest The majority of property sales in Cardiff in 2014 involved terraced properties which sold for an average of £176,191. Flats sold for an average price of £136,170, while semidetached properties fetched £208,902.

In terms of the student market, the two main areas to look at are Cathays - which is a popular choice for those at Cardiff University and also the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The average price of a 4 bed terraced house, ideal for student lettings in Cathays, is around £151,000, with achievable rents of around £1,250pcm. This would give you an annual gross yield of 9.89%. Other areas popular with students include Roath, Canton, Maindy and Adamsdown. The Heath area is also ideally placed for student nurses and doctors studying at the nearby hospital.

During 2014, sold prices in Cardiff were 3% up on the previous year and 6% up on 2007.


The Cardiff Bay, Riverside, Splott and Pontcanna areas are all worth looking at for their mix of professionals and young families looking to rent.

Captain Scott departed from Cardiff for his final expedition to the South Pole in 1910

Welsh Assembly Building


CARDIFF - the facts and figures Get the lowdown on the city with our handy info-graphics


£524 pcm


£708 pcm


£856 pcm


£1,079 pcm


£1,336 pcm



£786 pcm


£761 pcm


£1,337 pcm



£258,724 (source:

Twinned with Cardiff is twinned with the below cities:







Work In the 19th century Cardiff’s port became the world’s most important coal port, handling more than London and Liverpool. Today Cardiff relies principally on the retail, finance, media and tourism sectors, with one in five employees based in the hotels and restaurants sector, highlighting the growth of tourism in the city.

Population = 346,100 Cardiff’s population is currently growing, following a period of decline during the 1970s and 1980s. The local authority area had a population of 346,100 at the 2011 census, compared to 305,350 in 2001.

Tourism Cardiff is one of the most popular tourist destination cities in the UK, receiving an estimated 18 million visitors a year. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations.



Did You


Cardiff was made a city in 1905, and proclaimed the capital of Wales in 1955.

PLACES TO VISIT Wales’ Capital city offers a startling range of unique attractions, top class entertainment and quality shopping with a difference – all within walking distance.

Cardiff Bay


Bute Place, Cardiff

A diverse waterfront built around a 200 hectare freshwater lake known as ‘the Bay’. Here you can find a great mix of attractions, entertainment and events.


Mermaid Quay



Cardiff Bay, Cardiff

The waterfront restaurants, cafes and bars with menus from around the world mean there’s something for every taste and to suit any pocket.


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Wales Millennium Centre


Bute Place, Cardiff Bay

Visitors can enjoy blockbuster West End musicals, opera, ballet and contemporary dance, hip hop and stand-up comedy.

Spillers Records


Spillers Records was founded in 1894 by Henry Spiller and is thought to be the oldest record shop in the world! In addition to selling music, it is also the city’s go-to place for buying tickets for alternative music concerts.


Cardiff is a very compact city and can easily be explored on foot, with the majority of attractions, shops, restaurants and hotels all within a few minutes of each other. Visit: for more info.




Cardiff Indoor Flea Market


Unit 2 Clydesmuir Road, Tremorfa, Cardiff

An eclectic mix of stalls selling everything from antiques to retro collectibles, hand painted furniture to hand crafted gifts. Go for a few hours and see what treasures you can discover.

National Museum & Art Gallery


Cathays Park, Cardiff

One of Europe’s finest art collections showcasing five hundred years of magnificent paintings, drawings, sculptures, silver and ceramics.

Cardiff Castle


Bute Park


Castle St, Cardiff

North Road, Cardiff

One of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. Located within beautiful parklands, Cardiff Castle’s walls and fairy-tale towers conceal 2,000 years of history.

One of the largest urban parks in Wales, comprises a broad mix of historic landscape, urban woodland, sport pitches and river corridor.


FAMOUS RESIDENTS Cardiff has healthy heritage of literary, television and musical personalities. Here are just a few of the city’s favourite sons and daughters:

Roald Dahl

Griff Rhys Jones

One of the world’s most famous children’s authors, Roald Dahl was born and brought up in the suburbs of Cardiff by his Norwegian parents. His books, including Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, and James & the Giant Peach have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Comedian, writer and television presenter Griff Rhys Jones was born in Cardiff in 1953. Alongside Mel Smith he was part of one of the biggest British comedy duos of the 1980s and 90s and was also the brains behind the satirical comedy series Not the Nine O’Clock News.

Lisa Rodgers

Sir Henry Morgan

Television presenter Lisa Rodgers was born in Cardiff in 1971 and lived in the city until moving away to study drama at Loughborough University. She presented the hugely popular Scrapheap Challenge for five series, as well as being a regular panellist on Loose Women.

The 17th century pirate Henry Morgan was born in the Llanrumney suburb of Cardiff. His seafaring activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements, earned him a reputation as one of the most notorious and successful privateers in history. The Captain Morgan brand of rum is named after him.

Ruth Jones

John Humphrys

Comedy actress Ruth Jones was born in Bridgend, but resides in Cardiff with her husband and three step-children. She is best known for her role as Nessa Jenkins in the hugely popular BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey, which she co-wrote with James Corden.

Born in Cardiff in 1943, Humphreys is a former BBC News presenter and current host of the quiz show Mastermind. He is perhaps most famous though for presenting the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 where he developed his tenacious and forthright interviewing technique.

Sport /chwaraeon As the capital of Wales, Cardiff is host to many sporting clubs and stadiums. According to a recent report, 61% of Cardiff residents regularly participated in sport and active recreation, the highest percentage out of all 22 local authorities in Wales.



Rugby is the national sport of Wales, it is played in Cardiff in both Union and League forms. The city has two Rugby Union teams – the Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC. Rugby league in Cardiff is currently represented by the successful Cardiff Demons side.

Located in the centre of the city, Cardiff Arms Park was home to the Welsh national side until 1999, it was also used during the 1958 Commonwealth games and hosted four games at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

The city has produced many Wales international players, including current Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, who also plays his club rugby for Cardiff Blues.


The Millennium Stadium opened in 1999, taking over as home of the Welsh national side. With a capacity of 74,500, the construction cost an estimated ÂŁ121 million.



Football Cardiff City FC are the only professional club based in the city. Founded in 1899 they reached the FA Cup final in 2008, and in 2013 made their debut in the English Premier League. Former Wales international footballer and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale also hail from the city.

an Olympic silver medal and became world champion three times. His world record of 12.91 seconds for the 110m hurdles stood for over a decade and he remains the 60 metres hurdles world record holder. Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson

The British former wheelchair racer, parliamentarian and television presenter was born in Cardiff in 1969. Over her career she won a total of 16 Paralympic medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records and also won the London Marathon six times between 1992 and 2002. In 2005 she was awarded a DBE for her services to sport.

Cricket Photo:

Athletics Colin Jackson CBE

Glamorgan County Cricket Club are one of the 18 major British county clubs and the only Welsh first-class cricket club. They play most of their home games at the SWALEC Stadium in Sophia Gardens, located on the bank of the River Taff.

Sprinter and hurdler Jackson was born in Cardiff in 1967 and is of Jamaican and Scottish Ancestry. During his illustrious career representing Great Britain and Wales he won


Music / Cerddoriaeth From male voice choirs to 90s indie, Cardiff has a rich musical heritage. Below we look at some of the city’s biggest stars:

Shirley Bassey DBE One of the biggest-selling female vocalists in British history, Bassey’s career has spanned more than 60 years. She was born in the Tiger Bay area of Cardiff and her biggest hits include ‘Big Spender’ and ‘Reach for the Stars’. She has also recorded the theme songs to three James Bond films - Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979).

Shakin’ Stevens Michael Barratt, better known by the stage name of “Shakin’ Stevens”, was born in Cardiff in 1948. The novelty rocker was the biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s and boasts 33 UK Top 40 hits.

Ivor Novello Ivor Novello, was one of the most loved British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century, his song ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ was enormously popular during the First World War capturing the spirit of the people. An annual award ceremony hosted by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors is named in his honour.

Voice choirs Cardiff has a rich history of brass band music and both male and female voice choirs. St David’s Hall in the city holds many classical music concerts, including the biennial Welsh Singer Competition. Soprano Katherine Jenkins and popular baritone singer and opera performer Bryn Terfel both have links with the city. A big advocate of Welsh language and heritage, Terfel was awarded the CBE in 2003 for his services to music.

Indie spirit

Charlotte Church Born in the Llandaff district of Cardiff in 1986, Church rose to fame as a classical singer aged just 12, before branching into pop music in 2005. She has now sold more than 10 million records worldwide.

In the mid-1990s, bands such as Super Furry Animals and Catatonia burst out of Cardiff’s indie scene to achieve mainstream success, the latter’s singersongwriter Cerys Matthews has since gone on to become a successful BBC radio presenter. Fellow Welsh guitar bands such as Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers also have strong links to the city, with The Manics welcoming in the new century with a new years eve concert at the Millennium Stadium.

St Ives voted best place to live in Britain


ayfair might be the most expensive, and Poole in Dorset may have the hottest property by the seaside, but they have both been beaten in a new survey of the best place to live in the UK. The title has been taken by the Cornish seaside town, St Ives.

St Ives St Ives, the idyllic seaside town in Cornwall, has been voted the ‘most ideal’ place to live, according to research conducted by Rightmove. St Ives has the amenities, the weather, and the seaside – and is widely regarded as the jewel of Cornwall’s crown, a beautiful seaside town it is a natural choice for the top spot.


Poole, Dorset


Pool didn’t make the top spot, which perhaps demonstrates that people aren’t completely sold on the idea of paying over the odds for their dream home by the sea.

The Scottish capital was named fourth. The historic town has the huge advantage of being on a walkable scale, so there’s the chance to live in a city and still be able to walk to work.

There’s also the risk that if somehow you could afford to make the move, you’d be living with a bunch of multimillionaires - not to everyone’s taste!

Technically, Edinburgh is by the sea too, but with a summer season often consisting of fog, it’s unlikely to attract many for its sunworshipping opportunities.

York Photo:

Brighton In third place a seaside location with the added benefit of being a stone’s throw from London. It means that as well as flocking to Brighton for all it has to offer, commuters could also envisage their seaside idyll making financial sense. The influx of sophisticated urbanites to Brighton over the last two decades in particular also makes it a cultural hot spot, with plenty of high and low culture available on the door step.

In fifth place is York. The beauty and history of the city, and the famous welcoming hospitality of the locals, make it a naturally attractive place for those looking for a home city packed with entertainment, culture, and tea shops.

What you’re looking for The survey by Rightmove also asked people to identify their requirements of a perfect place to live. They found that people prioritised being within walking distance of the pub over the proximity of parks and supermarkets. And when asked to describe their ideal property, rather than going for a mansion, they chose a detached house, with three bedrooms, one kitchen, two living rooms, two bathrooms, a garden and a utility room. Director Miles Shipside said: “While we gave people the chance to choose a home fit for royalty, on average they said they would be happy in a more modest home with plenty of space and practical features, instead of rattling around in a massive mansion. This shows that the perfect home for many is one that they know they could possibly live in one day, depending on where they are looking to buy, rather than a pipe dream.”

What should you expect from the buy to let market in 2015?

income, while another 23% are attracted by the security they perceive property to offer. 17% say that they are attracted by the capital appreciation they expected, while nine per cent favour this type of investment as it provides them with something tangible to leave their children.

Falling rent arrears and rising rent prices at the tail end of 2014 mean that landlords are heading into 2015 feeling largely optimistic, but what should they expect from the market in the year ahead?

Over half of landlords in the UK are looking to expand their portfolios this year, according to a study by PropertyLetByUs.


Only a quarter of the people said that they plan to sell off some of their properties in 2015

Many experts predict that the changes in pension regulation could lead to a buy to let boom, with 32% of people aged 45 to 64 with a pension considering using it to purchase an investment property, according to a recent survey. 43% of people in this category would consider buy to let on the basis that it produces regular


The optimism is fuelled by the growth in demand for rental property, falling rent arrears and rising rent prices during the last 12 months, says the research.

Rent More than one in four (27%) landlords are planning to increase the rent they charge tenants by more than 3% in 2015 – triple the latest rate of inflation for the UK – according to

A further 13% of landlords said they would raise their rents in 2015, but by less than 3%, with many suggesting this was necessary due to increasing costs and increasing mortgage rates. The average UK rent for a double room in shared accommodation rose by 8% in 2014 to £546 a month – up from £505 in 2013 – and is expected to increase further in 2015. “While the majority of landlords do all they can to hold on to good, reliable tenants, those facing increased mortgage repayments when interest rates rise may have no choice than to cover the extra cost by passing it on to their tenants,” says Matt Hutchinson of

Tenant demand Landlords experienced high levels of demand in 2014, which is expected to continue in 2015. In a recent survey by Paragon Mortgages, 41% of landlords thought tenant demand was either growing or booming in the third quarter of 2014 and just 3% said that they felt demand was declining.

“Home ownership has fallen to its lowest level for a quarter of a century and with property prices continuing to increase, tenant demand is set to grow during 2015 and beyond,” says Jane Morris, managing director of PropertyLetByUs.

Commercial property Retail rents in many parts of London are rising on the back of strong population growth. While rental growth outside of the capital is harder to predict, some regional commercial markets are definitely expected to accelerate in 2015. In the office sector, Manchester again stands out as one of the strongest of the big regional cities, thanks to the success of its professional services. There is also good demand for office space in Bristol and Edinburgh and certain smaller markets such as Aberdeen, Brighton, Cambridge and Reading with strong local economies, according to global asset management company Schroders. Protect your investment with landlord insurance from City Landlord, call 0800 2944 546 now.


Our guide to the best events going on across the UK in February and March.

CARDIFF Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

St David’s Day Celebrations & Parade

Wales Millennium Centre 2nd February – 11 February 2015 Tickets: £45 - £55 (plus booking fee) The fun really begins as you’re sitting in the Fawlty Towers restaurant. In two hours of highly improvised chaos, you’ll be completely immersed in the action.

Betvictor Welsh Open Snooker

Cardiff City Centre 1st March 2015 Tickets: FREE Show your welsh spirit on Wales’ national day and wave the Welsh flag with passion at Cardiff’s official St David’s Day Celebrations.

Welsh Guards Centenary Concert

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff 16th Febuary – 22nd February 2015 Tickets: £7.50 (plus booking fee) The event will be contested by 128 players, all starting in the same round, with a top prize of £60,000.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 7th March 2015 Tickets: FREE The Band of the Welsh Guards is joined by the Royal Welsh College Brass Ensemble and a host of solo performers for a special concert celebrating the centenary year of the Welsh Guards.

Edward Scissorhands Wales Millennium Centre 10th March 2015 Tickets: £20 (plus booking fee) Based on the classic Tim Burton movie, this love story tells the tale of a boy left alone and unfinished in a strange new world. It is a tale for our times about the ultimate outsider.

5k Resolution Run

LONDON Chinese New Year Chinatown 22nd February 2015 Tickets: FREE

2015 is the year of the Sheep! Expect a parade, traditional acts from China and dragon dancers weaving their way through the crowds.

WOW: Women of the World Festival Foyer Spaces, Southbank Centre 1st March – 8th March 2015 Tickets: from £45 (plus booking fees) Women of the World is a global festival that celebrates the achievements of women and girls and also looks at the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their potential and contributing to the world.

BIRMINGHAM Bute Park 22nd March 2015 Tickets: £15 Whether you’re a novice or seasoned runner, you can walk, jog or run the distance. Your support will help to change the world for people affected by stroke.

Crufts 2015 NEC 8th March 2015 Tickets: from £17.50 (plus booking fees) Crufts is the biggest celebration of dogs. It’s a show stopping, fantastic family day out, all under one roof.

MANCHESTER Future Everything Festival

NEWCASTLE L.S. Lowry RA Exhibition Whitewall Galleries Newcastle 27th February 2015 Tickets: FREE

Various Manchester venues 26th February – 28th February 2015 Tickets: from £80 (plus booking fee) Critics have described this event as ‘an award winning innovation lab for digital culture’, it claims to make connections between ‘thinkers, developers, coders, artists, designers and urbanists.’


This collection of highly sought-after masterpieces ranges from classic industrial scenes to landscapes and landmarks, and provides a superb opportunity for collectors to own a piece of heritage from a 20th century master.

BELFAST Marvellous Marmalade Antrim Castle Gardens 31st February 2015 Tickets: £10 Join Forage Island as they talk you through making your own tasty marmalade using traditional techniques.

LIVERPOOL Lionel Richie The Baths Hall 20th February 2015 Tickets: £18.50 (plus booking fees)

Echo Arena 13th March 2015 Tickets: £44.50

Jackson Live in Concert sees longtime fan and hugely talented Ben Bowman recreate the Michael Jackson experience with his stunning rendition of all his favourite songs.

The five-time GRAMMY winner treats the audience to all his hits, including ‘Dancing on the ceiling’, ‘Hello’, ‘Three times a lady’, ‘Easy’ and ‘All Night Long’

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” Roald Dahl - writer


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We hope you have enjoyed issue nine of City Focus. We welcome any suggestions and feedback, so please email with your thoughts. You can also follow us on twitter: @citylandlord or visit for all our latest news, as well as exclusive deals and offers. Phone: 0800 2944 546

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CITY FOCUS - Cardiff  

In this fun-filled edition, we take a trip to the Welsh capital, looking at the city’s opportunities for buy to let investors, as well its h...

CITY FOCUS - Cardiff  

In this fun-filled edition, we take a trip to the Welsh capital, looking at the city’s opportunities for buy to let investors, as well its h...