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Belfast takes its name from the Irish word: Beal Feirste, meaning ‘mouth of the sand-bank ford’. It is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, with a growing population of 343,542. Situated on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast, Belfast is the 12th largest city in the UK. The capital is surrounded by over 3000 acres of green parks. From polished gardens, like the Botanic Gardens, to the forested Belvoir Park and Colin Glen.
In the 1800s, the industry in Belfast was booming. Among shipbuilding and the production of rope and tobacco, the city paved the way in the world’s linen industry. By the end of the 19th century, Belfast was nicknamed ‘Linenopolis’ and was recognised as the world’s linen capital. The city has a wealth of history and is the birthplace of the world’s most famous ship, the RMS Titanic. The symbol of a seahorse is embedded throughout the city paying homage to its iconic maritime history. It is also featured on architectural buildings, including the Grand Central Hotel.
Before the famous series of Game of Thrones arrived on the scene, tourism was already one of Northern Irelands key industries. With scenes of the world’s most popular TV series filmed at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast, the area has experienced increased visibility. The creation of the Titanic Studios will also have a major impact on the productions filmed in the area and a positive effect on the economy. Attracting tourism further boosts sectors such as retail and leisure as the market expands for goods and services. In turn, the growth of a city’s economy also boosts the demand for rental accommodation. The capital is facing continued exponential growth across all sectors including tourism, new business, and city developments such as updated transport links. The rental market has seen an increased demand for high quality accommodation for students, young adults and international visitors.
Over 43% of the population is under 30 years of age, making Belfast one of the youngest cities. The city is upgrading and expanding as the population continues to grow. Over the past 10 decades, there has been an influx of young professionals settling into the city. Again, this only strengthens an already strong rental market.
For those worried about Belfast’s transport connections need not. Although across the sea from the rest of the UK, Belfast is served by two airports allowing the quick travel to both internal and international destinations.
As Northern Irelands epicentre for business with an increasing demand for accommodation, the private rental sector is growing at an unprecedented rate in the city. In 2014, there were 40,000 rental properties, this increased to an impressive 130,000 by 2019. Belfast is an attractive prospect for investors as the average house price is lower than the rest of the UK due to cost of living. This ensures investors benefit from extremely attractive rental yields. Nonetheless, house prices are increasing rapidly because of the thriving economy. Between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019, the house price index increased by 3.5%.
Belfast, along with the other largest home nation cities, Cardiff and Glasgow, offers investors an incredibly attractive place to invest in property.
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