Buy-to-let investors are showing signs of returning to the market as confidence in the housing sector returns following a pick-up in home prices, estate agents say. The historical low savings deposit rate, now at 0.01 per cent for deposits of at least $10,000, has made investment in residential properties a favourable option. The average rental yield of a Hong Kong residential property ranges from 3 per cent to 8 per cent, according to realtors. Aged properties usually carried a higher yield but their saleability was relatively low, Ricacorp Properties managing director Ivan Ho said. Landlords should not expect high capital appreciation from these properties. 'In the past two months, we saw an increasing number of inquiries from potential buyers who want to make their purchases for long-term investment,' Centaline Property Agency director Louis Chan said. 'The number of buy-to-let investors has increased by 20 per cent from the same period last year.' Upmarket residential properties priced from $4 million to $10 million had become sought after by cash-rich investors. Residence Bel-Air at Cyberport, with a rental yield of 3 per cent to 4 per cent, was their top choice, Mr Chan said. A market trend had emerged whereby investors were branching into mass housing, realtors said, adding that some inexperienced investors had started buying small apartments. But agents said inexperienced buyers should consider carefully the location and type of their investment. They recommended first-time landlords invest in a flat valued at $1 million to $1.5 million as a trial. The standard investment property would be a two-bedroom flat in a large private housing estate because it appealed to different types of tenants. Recreational facilities such as swimming pools and tennis courts in these housing estates were an additional attraction to tenants, realtors said. Patrick Lam, a senior sales manager at Centaline's Tung Chung branch, recommended that would-be landlords consider buying secondary market flats of 715 to 835 square feet at Tung Chung Crescent, valued at $1.5 million to $1.6 million. The rental yield was about 5 per cent. If this was not attractive enough, estate agents suggested single-block towers in North Point, where the rental yield could be as high as 8 per cent. 'Entry fees can be less than $1 million but you can have a monthly rental of $5,000,' Centaline district manager Lily Cheng said. For example, a 300 sqft unit at the 17-year-old Kin Yip Mansion on Java Road sold recently for $620,000. Because of its proximity to the MTR station, the average rental is about $5,000 a month. After deducting the monthly management fee, the landlord still enjoys a return of more than 7 per cent. But Ms Cheng conceded that some single-block developments were more than 30 years old, and buyers might have difficulty obtaining bank financing. The units' saleability was also weaker than those at large housing estates.