What does the future hold for the Northern Powerhouse?

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When a majority of investors think to invest in UK property, their immediate go-to city is London. However, several well-established cities outside the capital should be taken into serious consideration. Many of such cities up north (dubbed “the Northern Powerhouse”) have and developed and grown over time to become independent destinations worthy of investment.

Many of these cities are in the north of England, including Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, all of which have seen vast improvements and considerable change over the years. The growth in these northern cities has attracted the attention of both developers and investors over the years, and this shows no sign of stopping.

In fact, with more development plans in place for these northern cities, they seem to have an exciting future ahead, from which many businesses and individuals can, and some already benefiting. Much like our exploration of the future of London, here you can discover what’s in store for Northern England and what possibilities these hold for investors and developers in the near future.

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Three years ago, the government decided to give northern mayors the authority to make decisions on things that would directly impact the region. With this new proposal, they hoped that cities in the north would boost the local economy, allocate budgets more effectively and, ultimately, reach the potential everyone sees in these great cities.

With this, the Northern Powerhouse was born. This new initiative encouraged cities within the north of England, to come together and develop strategies that hugely benefited the region and boosted the overall economy. The government allocated huge investments into this plan, which in large part, have been used to improve transport links between northern cities and the south, as well as encouraging business growth and investment.

By allowing the north to makes decisions about their own cities, it was expected that the productivity and growth of the whole UK economy would benefit, on top of the vast improvements it will drive in these northern cities. While the Northern Powerhouse strategy is ongoing, there’s no doubt that this initiative has and will continue to increase the number of jobs on offer in the north, as well as the skills base individuals can develop. These opportunities are proving very popular, so popular that many are choosing to relocate from London to these northern cities, based on the fantastic prospects available there.

It’s this demand that provides developers with increasing opportunities to build more properties and provide a place to live for these individuals. It also provides investors with excellent opportunities to invest in these properties. With these cities constantly developing and growing, investors are enjoying profitable returns on investment, as property prices and rent prices continue to rise.

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Many plans are either already in place or currently being rolled out, concerning investment in transport links to and from the north. These improvements aim to make the northern powerhouse cities more accessible to those on the other side of the country and also, in some other countries. The HS2 is expected to connect over half of the country’s population, by providing a high-speed rail network that will boost rail reliability, reduce congestion and, overall, provide a much faster and efficient way of travelling across the country.

While there have been some concerns about HS2, it cannot be denied that this new high-speed train will vastly improve accessibility to and from the north, creating more career prospects and residential opportunities. There is also the Great North Rail Project, which involves billions of pounds being invested into the northern railway lines. By 2022, the project hopes to improve the connections between northern cities, which will not only grow the accessibility of the many jobs being created but will also enhance the growth of the local economy.

Rail transport isn’t the only area that has been invested in, either. In fact, a £1bn investment has been provided to Manchester Airport, which offers up the opportunity to expand and improve on its international terminals, as well as to cater for the increasing numbers of passengers it receives every year. The number of direct flights Manchester Airport can now offer, including direct flights to San Francisco has significantly improved, thereby connecting the upcoming digital industry here, with the digital well-established sector over in Silicon Valley. All of this means that northern cities are much more able to reach new horizons, which could improve business opportunities and grow the economy.

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Two years ago in 2017, Greater Manchester elected its first-ever mayor and, since then, Andy Burnham has been implementing his thoughts and plans for the region’s future. From reducing the levels of homelessness in the area to reducing traffic congestion and boosting the already excellent digital industry in the region, his very realistic expectations are guaranteed to make the area an even better place to work and live. It’s no wonder why property developers are making the most of all available opportunities in and around the city, with areas including Salford Quays and Pomona Island providing increasing numbers of residential property. Yet even with the substantial economic boost and with many people choosing to stay or move into the area, property prices are still much lower than London, which makes the investment even more appealing.

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Many of the plans for Manchester’s future align with Liverpool’s as well. Hopes to reduce homelessness, more affordable travel and delivering a “skills revolution” through an increase in available apprenticeships, are just some of the plans in place for the Merseyside city. There is also the promise of providing at least 25,000 new homes and an ambitious renewable energy project in place, all of which work towards the idea of growing the city and improving its prospects.

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Leeds has always been a popular city for investment, particularly among foreign investors. However, its plans are set to further increase its popularity, particularly among local investors who reside within the UK. This trend will ultimately drive demand and encourage further growth within the region. Multi-million transport projects are in place, which will provide more accessibility into and around the city, as well as preparing for the introduction of the HS2 in 2033. There’s also the renovation of the old British Gas headquarters which will provide many modern skyscrapers filled with residential, commercial and retail space. Not only that, but projects aiming to create new districts and trendy destinations within the city are taking place, including the rejuvenation of Leeds South Bank and Leeds Kirkgate. All of these plans will work together to turn an already desirable location into an economic hotspot in the northern powerhouse, competing with the ever-growing cities of Manchester and Liverpool

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These factors influencing the north mean developers and investors are increasingly looking to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds property as a way to make profitable returns on investment in the years to come. Improved accessibility to other areas of the UK and international destinations, alongside the cheaper overall cost of living compared to the south and exciting plans set in place for the years ahead – the list is endless on what opportunities are available for investors and developers considering a place in the north.

There’s no doubt that these areas are quickly becoming appealing options for like-minded people both in the UK and worldwide, so you can expect the demand for a more significant buy to let market to increase, as well as property prices to increase over time. With all this in mind, could now be the best time to invest in the north?

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When buying a new property, it is essential you have the right tools and the knowledge to ensure you make a smart investment. At Parker Buchanan, we have over years’ of experience in helping investors and homeowners excel in their property choices and improve their portfolios with great opportunities. We will also guide any new property buyers through every single process, to ensure that everything is done right.

If you’re serious about taking that first step on the UK property ladder, but you’re still unsure and have some questions, get in touch with our expert team, and we will be more glad to help in you in the right direction.

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