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Wakefield is undergoing large regeneration projects, to transform the city into a modern powerhouse. The city council plans to bring the large city experiences to the modestly sized Wakefield. This increases the appeal of commuters who work in Leeds, Sheffield and even as far as London. One of the city’s largest projects was the creation of the Trinity Walk shopping centre, which covers an impressive 50,000 sqft. Furthermore, the 5.4m upgrade of Wakefield Westgate train station has been hugely successful in attracting new residents.
Further regeneration is underway, with upgrades to the city centre. The city centre project is projected to add hundreds of new jobs as well as top-class amenities including shops, bars, gyms, and eateries. Meanwhile, Wakefield’s 15-year waterfront regeneration is also underway. This project aims to add a creative hub to the city, with innovative spaces, music studios, event space and a boutique hotel.
Wakefield’s property prices are noticeably lower than those found in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, and London. According to Rightmove, the average property price in Wakefield is around £211,478. This is considerably lower than Leeds, which has an average property price of £251,811, and Manchester where prices are around £284,922.
This means investors have the opportunity to secure property at a lower price. Therefore, will not need to save as high a deposit and can start earning a return on their investment much sooner. While property prices are currently lower than in Leeds or Manchester, the UK property market has continued to grow as a whole into 2023, with an average of 0.9% growth in January 2023. We expect to see this continue, as the UK housing market has proven resilient.
Wakefield is a scenic cathedral city offering residents both the opportunities to experience city centre living and enjoy the countryside views West Yorkshire has to offer. As the city is located close to other major UK cities, the rise of hybrid working has seen residents of these cities relocate. This is a result of the much lower cost of living in Wakefield when compared to the larger cities.
Therefore, Wakefield has achieved huge population gains in the latest census with a 10% growth. The 2011 population reported 99,000, whereas the 2021 census reported 109,000. For Wakefield, this improves the local economy considerably, which allows the City Council to invest more in the regeneration of the city.
As part of the high-performing North of England, Wakefield holds very strong rental yields as high as 7%. This is a result of the elevated population growth and increasing rental demand. High rental demand will often cause rental prices to climb and in Wakefield, the average rental price is currently £833. This offers high yields as property can be purchased at a much lower price than in other areas of the UK, while rental prices are still impressively competitive.
The performance of the rental market in the city is expected to continue to climb as regeneration comes into effect. Regeneration often adds a lot of benefits to a city, with larger levels of rental demand being amongst the highest.
Wakefield house prices have grown over the past couple of years up by 10% from 2020, according to Rightmove. This means those who invested in Wakefield in 2020 will have experienced an impressive 10% capital appreciation during this time. Furthermore, due to the population growth in the city, growth will continue. When the population in an area elevates it increases the demand from buyers which boosts the property market in that area.
The north of England has experienced property value increases over the past several years as people move away from the nation’s capital, London. Therefore, investors are keen to invest in northern powerhouse cities. Leeds and Manchester have experienced exceptionally large growth. As a result, cities such as Wakefield offer a lot of benefits to investors without the saturation of the largest northern cities.
Wakefield has significantly upgraded the public transport in the city, making it one of the most connected UK cities. This is a result of the £5.4m Wakefield Westgate train station upgrades. Journeys to Leeds, Doncaster or Barnsley take just 15 minutes, while Manchester is just one hour away. For residents who regularly visit London, travel takes just under two hours. Furthermore, hybrid working is here to stay, helping businesses cut back on office space. As a result, places such as Wakefield will continue to become more desirable due to its excellent connectivity.
For international journeys, Leeds Bradford airport is just a 40-minute drive from Wakefield centre. The airport is the 15th busiest in the UK, transporting just over 4 million passengers in 2019, before the pandemic. It also acts as a hub for Jet2 and Ryanair, offering passengers a magnitude of destinations.
Right now, Wakefield offers a fantastic opportunity for investors to take advantage of the high growth in the area. Property prices and rental demand are growing, meaning investors are able to achieve both capital growth and high rental yields in the area. There are few cities that offer the connectivity that Wakefield offers, with hugely impressive rail links, making it a perfect location for hybrid workers across the country.
Regeneration will contribute towards a stronger infrastructure and local economy in Wakefield. Therefore, will continue to support the expansion of the city moving forward. As a result, residents will benefit from an influx of amenities and facilities, improving quality-of-life in the area.
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