The setting for many of the UK’s classic films and TV series, the North West has been steadily ridding itself of its “Boys from the Blackstuff” image and has finally emerged as the Northern Powerhouse. Here are the main reasons to invest in property in Manchester and the North West.
The government has reconfirmed its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse initiative
The initial champion of the Northern Powerhouse initiative was (then) chancellor George Osborne. His departure in the wake of the Brexit vote left the North West wondering where it stood. His successor Phillip Hammond has, however, already made it clear that he intends to continue along this path, for example backing a high-speed link between Leeds and Manchester to which he has pledged £5M in development funds. This will reassure investors who have already made a commitment to the area, such as the many Chinese investors who have entered the Manchester property market and are now benefiting from a clear upward trend. Liverpool too has seen significant economic growth and hence improvements in the property market. In particular, Liverpool’s status as a centre of education means that there is a substantial student population, which, of course, boosts the private rental market.
The North West offers easy access to the UK’s economic hubs
In the old days, the 200 mile trip between Manchester and London would have taken about four days for a fit person to walk. These days, regular trains make the trip in about two hours and on-board Wi-Fi means that travellers can put the time to productive use (if they want to). Those heading to other parts of the UK will find themselves well served by both rail and road networks and with shortened journey times as compared to making a trip to the same destination from London. Ireland, meanwhile, is just a short trip across the water or from a regional airport.
Local transport facilities are outstanding
Once you have arrived at your destination city, you’ll need to find a way of getting around it. The fact that northern cities are smaller and therefore more compact than London certainly makes this easier (and quicker). It is also a distinct benefit that the North West has some of the best local transport infrastructure in the country. Metrolink, trams, buses, even a canal network and numerous opportunities for safe cycling, you may find you don’t even need a car. Figures from the DVLA put Manchester second only to London in terms of the lowest number of cars per head of population.
The North West is becoming one of the key centres for the UK’s creative industry
The North West has long been known as a centre of musical talent. Even though The Beatles probably remain their most famous band, there are plenty of other great bands and soloists hailing from the area, including, of course Oasis. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney co-founded the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to help develop performers of all genres. The school opened in 1996 and has gone from strength to strength producing a number of notable alumni. It has been recently announced that Trainspotting director Danny Boyle (who comes from Bury) will be working with Manchester Metropolitan University to launch an International Screen School. In addition to schools, there are a number of very high-standard performance venues in the area as well as excellent production facilities, all of which have helped to tempt content creators away from London. Coronation Street and Hollyoaks are both filmed in the area and the BBC has moved some production from London to Salford.
There is a mixed local economy
The highly-urbanized nature of London means that its economy, while being fairly diverse, has to centre on what could be called modern enterprises, such as financial services, the creative industry and companies which operate in the digital economy. The fact that the North West has a mixture of urban and rural areas means that in addition to all of these, there is also more “traditional” industry, such as agriculture, fishing and manufacturing.
Property still offers tremendous value
Looked at in terms of what the North West has to offer, property is still at an exceptionally low price, even though it is now starting to catch the attention of international investors. Manchester in particular, has received a lot of interest from Chinese investors, which sends a pretty strong signal that it has now shaken off its status as London’s poor relation and is now very much an investment destination in its own right.
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