United Kingdom, the World’s 5th largest economy and the second biggest in Europe, offers lots of property investment opportunities, from new build buy-to-let, to city investments and commercial hotel or student investments.
London - capital city
Famous for its financial centre, upmarket shopping, historic architecture, Royal Palaces, and Royal Parks, London attracts millions of visitors and property investors alike.
With a city population of 7m inhabitants, or over 8.5m in greater London, it has long attracted property investors, domestic and overseas buyers who see it as a safe bet. Central London, Zone 1 on the tube map, can be pricey and this means yields are low, around the 2-3% level for buy-to-let landlords. However there are still solid opportunities in London, particularly in Zone 3 and beyond, especially those locations clustered around infrastructure improvements like the night tube, or Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail) to the East and West of the capital.
A city of 1 million, 2.44 million in the greater city area, it is the second biggest city in the UK. Birmingham attracts 38m visitors annually, with numbers at a record high. Local property prices and rents are buoyant. Whilst economic activity is robust, employment rates are a bit lower than the national average. There has been an increase in investment activity in commercial office space and residential build. Birmingham is the UK's second largest student city, with five universities, one of which is a Red Brick, Russell Group University (Aston, Birmingham, Birmingham City, Newman and University College Birmingham), which makes it home to over 65,000 higher education students, attracted from around the world, many of whom stay and work in the city.
With a population of over half a million and 1.6 million in the greater area, this makes Sheffield the third biggest metropolitan area in England. With two Universities, almost 1 in 10 people in Sheffield are students, so the city is geared towards student life, from the nightclubs and bars to the shops. The University of Sheffield, is a member of the Russell Group of leading research universities which includes Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and Manchester. They recently invested £240m in facilities for their students. That means world-class equipment, resources and study space. Many of their research partners are world leaders in industry, household names such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce sponsor facilities at Sheffield.
The city has a population of about half a million, swelling to 2.6 million in the greater Manchester area. A European business and cultural hub Manchester’s economy has almost doubled in size in the last 20 years.
The first tram line opened in 1992 and a successful bid made for the Commonwealth Games, which took place in 2002. Traditionally its roots have been in manufacturing industries but it has re-emerged as an economic magnet, with developments such as the BBC’s MediaCity in Salford. The former industrial wasteland between Manchester and Salford Quays is filling up with new apartment blocks, attracting a younger generation of professionals moving in. There is high demand - private renting (PRS) grew by 436% from 2001-2011. This fact, coupled with undersupply - 55,000 units need to be delivered by 2027 to meet demand - create a buy to let hotspot in the UK with average yields of 6% and is recognised by HSBC as one of the UK’s top ten buy-to-let hotspots. Whilst the average apartment in Manchester costs up to two thirds less than in central London, property prices are forecast to rise 20% over the next 3 years. Home to a Red Brick University, it attracts international students and 7 in 10 stay after graduation, usually in Greater Manchester.
A city populated by just over 750,000 people, Leeds is the UK’s fastest growing city and has a £56 billion economy. Over the next ten years, the economy is forecast to grow by 25% with financial and business services a key driver of this growth. Leeds has the largest manufacturing sector in the UK worth £7billion. It is the second largest financial district in the UK outside of London. With HS2 coming in 2018 it is expected to boost the local economy and buoy up house price growth. Rents are healthy and buy-to-let occupancy levels are high, at over 90%. Home to three Universities, one of which is a Red Brick (founded in the C19) Russell Group, means a strong flow of students into the city.
This historic city has done a great job of restoring its old buildings and districts which are home to some of the city’s most fashionable restaurants and stylish apartments. The old-world charm of UNESCO recognised areas, the city’s retail and waterfront areas, continue to make Liverpool a desirable location. Birthplace of The Beatles and home to the legendary Cavern Club, a sporting and musical capital, Liverpool is emerging as a worldwide trading centre, hosting a major International Festival of Business 2016.
The city created the world’s first enclosed dock on the Mersey and the world’s first passenger railway and remains at the centre of an international travel and transport network. Liverpool is a burgeoning centre for digital business, an internationally recognised cultural and visitor centre and home to three great universities (one of which is a Russell Group University) attracting students from every continent. Liverpool’s expanding population continues to fuel one of the country’s most vibrant residential property markets. Liverpool attracts 30m visitors every year bringing wealth to the city and its population of just under 1 million.
At the heart of the city remains the inner, Roman-walled heart, one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain. With its charming cobbled streets, old Victorian and Jacobean-façade buildings. The University of Chester is ranked 67 in The Times and 'The Sunday Times Good University Guide' Rankings for 2015 and is part of The Cathedrals Group. Within Chester there are approximately 10,000 full time higher education students. Of these c.1,500 are full time post graduates. There are c.700 European Union and Overseas postgraduate students at the University. This makes the city a great place to invest in student accommodation.
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