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A small city with
Wakefield; once a mining and engineering pioneer throughout the industrial revolution, is now a small but historic cathedral city. Famously a key trader for corn, coal, and textiles, the city sits quietly on the River Calder at the eastern edge of the Pennies. You might be wondering, how is this quaint city a property investment hotspot? For those wondering where to invest in 2022, Wakefield should certainly be a location to consider.
Wakefield has created a new name for itself, away from its industrial history. Following in the footsteps of other Northern, industrial powerhouses, Wakefield is fast becoming a desirable residential location in Yorkshire. Artistic heritage and picturesque countryside lace the city. In addition, the city is continually growing its own economy and thanks to the ripple effect from Leeds, it is becoming an increasingly popular commuter hotspot.
Wakefield’s central location in England puts it at the heart of the UK’s connectivity network. The city has unrivalled transportation networks, with swift connections by road, rail, and air. Firstly, the district is well placed to access other regional centres. For example, Leeds is just a 20-minute drive away. But also, the city is well connected to Sheffield and York. Wakefield is perfectly situated at the crossroads of the M1 and M62, and with the A1 at its eastern boundary.
The city’s mainline station, Wakefield Westgate, is located on the high-speed east coast mainline. Therefore, providing excellent links to key UK destinations. Throughout the day, you can jump on direct half-hourly trains to London. Whether you travel to the capital for business or pleasure, the high-speed rail will take you to Kings Cross in just 2 hours. Return tickets can be purchased for as little as £35. Sheffield, York, Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle are all also easily accessible from this well-connected city. With a noticeable shift in the number of people retreating out of big cities into more affordable areas of the country, Wakefield is a fantastic alternative. For anyone working remotely, even if you needed to visit the office in London once a week, it is still more affordable to live outside of London and commute.
That is not all, as there are also several airports nearby that offer local and international flights. Including, Leeds Bradford Airport, Robin Hood Airport, Manchester Airport, and East Midlands Airport. After more than a century of reliance on coal mining, the district has evolved into a bustling manufacturing, retail, and distribution centre. Thus, capitalising on its location at the hub of the region’s transportation network. With many of us continuing to work from home, a city with good transport connections is going to soar in demand.
A hotspot for
In order to part with its industrial past, Wakefield had to undertake some large-scale redevelopment. However, because the city’s beautiful architecture and illustrious history make it truly unique and set it apart from other city’s, the council chose to retain the city’s character, whilst still improving the city centre. Some of Wakefield’s key regeneration projects include:
Trinity Walk Shopping Centre
In 2011, the city opened the 500,000 square foot Trinity Walk shopping centre. Hosting over 60 retail stories, 10 eateries, and a 24-hour gym, Trinity Walk has cemented its name as one of the best shopping destinations in Yorkshire. Most notably, the iconic canopy roof allows an abundance of light to flood the centre whilst also sheltering visitors under all weather conditions. It also means shoppers can enjoy the development all year round. Trinity Walk has provided a boost to the city centre, as well as becoming an integral part of a much larger regeneration scheme.
Kirkgate Rail Station
More recently, the Wakefield Kirkgate Rail station has been provided with a much needed revamp. The council have funded £5.4 million for the project, in an effort to increase accessibility across the city. The rebuilt station is considered a catalyst for the city’s growth. The project will establish an accessible city centre quarter with good connectivity to the heart of the shopping district and the waterfront. The regeneration of this Grade II listed station underpins the council’s strategy of creating a business-led environment. Therefore, playing a key role in attracting companies and start-ups. Thus, boosting the economy and increasing employability in the area.
Thirdly, Wakefield’s beloved waterfront, located on the River Calder, is well underway in its 15-year regeneration plan. Phase One is due to be completed in 2023. Plans include the restoration of the five Victorian, Rutland Mills buildings. They will become the hosts of a diverse food market and events space. Additionally, it will form a creative industries space, providing commercial offices, music studios, and even a boutique hotel. Not only does this present a well-needed uplift to the cultural sector, following the difficult pandemic period, it will attract new and exciting businesses. This will create a multitude of jobs for residents of Wakefield, who are already heavily anticipating the project. Also, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has announced a further £3 million in funding. In turn, this will drive capital growth in the area as the quality of amenities in the surrounding area increases.
Wakefield versus Leeds
Wakefield is not far behind Leeds in terms of house price prowth, which may surprise you. Over the last ten years, the city has grown by an astounding 35.12%. However, as this Zoopla comparison shows, average property prices in Leeds are significantly higher. Leeds is heavily regarded as an investor hotspot. However, it seems investors should be looking outside of Leeds if they want to access even higher levels of capital growth and growing rental yields. Especially as rents are rising rapidly in Leeds city centre, residents are beginning to look elsewhere for more affordable prices. Where better to turn than Wakefield, only a 15-minute train ride away?
With property markets such as Manchester and Leeds becoming increasingly oversaturated, many investors are wondering where the next hotspot will be. As we know, the rise of commuter towns has become a hot topic on investors radars. Commuter locations benefit from much lower property prices, but high levels of capital growth. Also, the achievable rental yields will be much higher. Therefore, it is crystal clear, judging by the unforeseen growth of Wakefield, that it is not a property market you want to miss out on.
With the waterfront regeneration nearing completion, and the Trinity Walk shopping centre becoming more and more popular, now could not be a better time to invest in Wakefield. If you are able to capitalise on the city whilst prices are still low, in the next ten or twenty years, a property in Wakefield will exceed your capital growth expectations. When looking where to invest in 2022, emerging locations such as Wakefield present the best opportunities. Property prices are lower but capital growth levels are high, meaning you will achieve the highest returns.
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