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Reasons Why Businesses are Moving North
Both homebuyers and businesses are moving North due to its growing desirability and the rising cost of living in London. Especially as the North-South divide widens due to the current rate of house price growth, the North has never been more attractive to buyers and business owners.
Following Manchester’s thriving hub of business giants, many Northern cities are following suit. If not already complete, many cities have high-quality office spaces or entire business hubs under construction with the aim to attract and grow their innovative business sectors like Manchester. With businesses moving North for this, such cities will see their population and economy thrive. Where, then, are the best places which are doing just that?
Manchester is certainly London’s main rival. Its Spinningfields project has earned the city the name ‘Canary Wharf of the North’. Home to MediaCityUK and the headquarters of businesses like BBC, Amazon, Kellogg’s, Adidas, and HP, like-minded businesses have been seeing the city’s strong capital growth potential and migrating here from across the globe.
With such business giants located here and 40% of the population educated at degree-level, it comes as no surprise that Manchester has become a magnet for talent-hungry companies and a strong property market. Manchester is nicknamed the Economic Powerhouse for a clear reason.
Liverpool is already known as the best place to live and work in the UK. A £5.5 billion project is currently reviving unused dockland into a residential district and business hub along two million square metres of Liverpool Waterfront. This is one of the largest regeneration schemes in the country. However, it is not the city’s first or only project to entice businesses to move North to Liverpool.
The Knowledge Quarter is a 450-acre urban district with the aim to attract many specialists and the biggest names in science, science, health, technology, culture, and education. The Goodison Park Legacy Project, too, will appeal to businesses and greatly increase Liverpool property prices.
Many professionals are due to relocate to the city for its growing range of industries. For this reason, investing in Liverpool has become paramount for buyers to fulfil the demand for high-quality accommodation.
Leeds has seen business growth of 39% in the last decade. As a new digital hotspot, the city is a budding hub of start-ups, scale-ups, and industry giants. Channel 4 is one of the many businesses moving North to Leeds, and its headquarters joins the likes of ASDA, Centrica, Direct Line Group, and BT. Then there are Leeds’ five prestigious universities, which offer some of the country’s superior education and facilities and create an exciting pool of talented young professionals for businesses moving North to access.
Receiving over £3.9 billion in large-scale projects within the last decade, Leeds is a leading city for redevelopment. It has aided its economy to reach over £69 billion and has had a massive effect on the city’s growth. It is no wonder this has caused a mass migration for business relocation over the years. A current example of this is Aire Park, which is already attracting major interest from large-scale organisations to follow in Channel 4’s footsteps.
Hull is certainly a city looking to the future. It is already leading the green revolution, investing in the environment and renewable technology to aid the 2030 Carbon Neutral Strategy. Siemens Gamesa, Europe’s largest wind turbine factory, is certainly a main contributor. It recently underwent an expansion, measuring seven football fields, in May 2023, which created more jobs on top of the factory’s existing high-skilled workforce of 1000. Siemens Gamesa is a catalyst for growth in the entire region, not just Hull. As such a pinnacle city for sustainable technology, many businesses are moving North to benefit from the sector’s booming and growing economy.
Regeneration in Hull is greatly improving the public realm and business sector within the city. The likes of Albion Square and the Fruit Market are enhancing Hull and are attracting several start-ups and independent businesses to the area. This is boosting employment and draws in working professionals from further afield, consequently making Hull great for property investment.
Birmingham is soaring through a golden decade, following the success of its Big City Plan. Due to this, the city is an already thriving investment hotspot, but further improvements are only going to reinforce it. The new Central Birmingham 2040 plan looks further into the future. It aims to create a greener city, better connectivity, and strengthen the economy. On top of this, plans are underway for Birmingham to become the UK’s new tech hub. The ‘New Silicon Valley’ is to be an innovation district due to the city being recognised for the existing architecture to accommodate high-growth technology industries.
Such city evolutions entice working professionals and boost rental demand. This is particularly seen in the HS2 railway project, which has the heart of the route in Birmingham. Once the HS2 line is complete, the service will attract many commuters travelling to and through Birmingham for work. The impact of the improvements and additions to the city is evident in Birmingham’s house price growth. Such significant growth is forecast over the next five years.
Bradford was named the ‘Best City in the UK for Investors’ back in 2022 out of 34 cities. By seeing a 13.8% increase in its population in just a decade, Bradford has been recognised as having one of the fastest-growing populations in the UK. For this reason, it is also an up-and-coming city for significant economic growth. Major businesses like Morrisons, the University of Bradford, and Yorkshire Water are the city’s biggest employers. More industry giants will likely join them, attracted by Bradford’s growing business hub.
Regeneration in Bradford is cementing this. A ripple effect of migrating workers will follow the completion of One City Park, a £35 million Grade-A office space in the city centre. Bradford is already the best city for first-time buyers, due to its affordability and large young population. Projects like One City Park and City Village will build on this population. Young professionals will be encouraged to relocate with businesses to this growing, thriving area.
Why Property Investors Should Follow
Businesses moving North see significant potential in such cities for profiting from high demand, rental yields, and strong capital growth. Where major companies see a city’s potential, so should property investors. Already, due to this, property investors are looking outside of London.
Where there are new high-quality offices and business hubs under construction, there will be large-scale industries relocating. Where there are large-scale industries, highly skilled professionals will follow, all in demand for equally high-quality accommodation.
Due to ever-growing desirability and employment rates, and consequently the ever-growing population, of the North, property prices and the economy are forecast to keep rising. This alone is proof of a city’s strong capital growth and why investors should follow businesses moving North.
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