Fastest Growing City Centre Populations

Fastest growing city centre populations

The Northern Powerhouse cities like Manchester, Liverpool & Birmingham are among the most desirable areas of the country to live. These cities have managed to attract young professionals through a growing number of high-paying jobs within the city centre. For instance, Manchester had an 84% increase in city centre jobs between 1998 and 2015, while Bristol and Leeds enjoyed increases of 42% and 34% respectively.

The growth of a city is a key factor in choosing the right property to invest in because as population grows, infrastructure improves, and the desirability of an area increases. These cities are already defined by their urban cafes, bars, restaurants and gyms that the young professionals are drawn to.

The Northern Powerhouse and key regional cities are worth considering for your next property investment.

ERE are property experts and you can speak to us about our current buy-to-let opportunities in these cities.



University Cities Worth Investing In

University Cities Worth Investing In

Universities are a major reason that the market for buy-to-let investment in Leeds, Liverpool, Leicester and Bradford make  ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cities looks so attractive. Cities such as Manchester are now seeing post graduate retention rates in the region of 50% which in turn generates around 17,000 students every year being added to the population and seeking quality apartments. This drives up both property prices and rental demand. Good quality apartments offer students secure, comfortable and conveniently-located lodgings. Among the interested investors will be parents looking to house their children for the duration of their studies, and secure themselves a long-term source of income after graduation. 

Let’s take a look at four university cities offering fantastic buy-to-let investment opportunities. 


What once was a hub for textile and shoe manufacturers has been transformed into St. George’s Cultural Quarter. There, Victorian buildings provide a home for the city’s artists and creatives. That’s where our Agin Court two-bed apartments are based. They each offer more than a thousand square feet of living space, with those near the top offering terraces and balconies, to boot. Each is just a short walk from both Leicester University and DeMontfort University.  


Leeds is home to two universities, both of which rank consistently well on league tables and student surveys. Leeds University was named University of the Year 2017 in the Time’s Good University Guide. The city’s regenerated South Bank is attractive to up-and-coming professionals. The Ellerby Road apartment complex boast two-bed apartments, each of which provides 732sq ft of living space, and will be ready to receive tenants soon. The city offers an excellent transport infrastructure, meaning that residents will be able to reach any part of campus via bus. 


A £4 million investment programme has helped transform Liverpool into one of the UK’s top business destinations. Old Hall Street is a seven-storey property whose central location makes it perfect for urban professionals. Just a seven-minute walk from Liverpool Lime Street Station, it’s convenient for frequent travellers – Manchester is just a forty-five minute train journey away, while London is reachable in around two hours. The city offers a high concentration of universities, with the red-brick University of Liverpool being perhaps the most prestigious. Old Hall Street is within walking distance of a host of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops – including the world-famous Cavern Club where the Beatles made their name. 


Bradford’s student population is among the country’s youngest, which makes the city’s future appear especially bright. The city centre has witnessed explosive growth in recent years, with hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants opening. Our York House apartments are located near Bradford College and the University of Bradford, making them an ideal residence for new students. They’re also easily reachable via the nearby Canal Road. Bradford city council have created ‘growth zone’ incentives to encourage the development of the city centre – which can only be a good thing for the value of nearby properties. 

Why are University Cities worth Investing In? 

Having completing their studies, many students will have formed an attachment to the cities in which they’ve been living for three years or more. They may have formed lasting friendships and romantic attachments, and so be unwilling to move away. Thus, those that don’t choose to go onto a postgraduate degree (or move back in with their parents) will often move into full-time employment in their university city. 

The rate of graduate retention varies enormously from region to region. This rate depends on many factors, but the availability of high-quality accommodation is inarguably key. While many landlords might hesitate to deal with students, highly-skilled young graduates they become will drive local growth, which makes investment in university cities more palatable. 

It won’t surprise many readers to learn that, according to the latest HESA Destinations of Leavers survey, the biggest winner is London – but some of the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cities aren’t far behind, with a retention rate hovering at around two thirds. As such, such cities contain some of the best UK property investments, and are well worth investigating! 



property market

How Has Brexit Affected The Property Market?

“Investors are holding a positive long-term outlook for the UK property market, and are not letting the uncertainty surrounding Brexit affect their financial strategies. Moreover, the investor community is clearly confident in the future growth prospects of the UK economy.”

Read the full article by Lawyer Monthly: 

Property investment in North and Midlands

Market Update for UK Property Investors

property investment in Birmingham, buy-to-let investment Birmingham

Property Investment in Birmingham Smithfield Project is Booming

During the past 10 years, the city centre in Birmingham has transformed into a successful economic hub, second only to London.  For this reason, property investment in Birmingham is booming.

The appeal of city centre life is on the rise not least due to fantastic shopping facilities, excellent international cuisine and a buzzing nightlife.

Areas of affluence are emerging in the Convention and Jewellery Quarters as well as in Digbeth and surrounding areas. There’s no doubt that property prices are increasing rapidly.

£500 million regeneration plan

However, for those interested in property investment in Birmingham it’s still comfortably affordable for investors especially in Digbeth.  The £500 million Birmingham Smithfield regeneration project that has recently been announced spans over 34 acres.

Delivering 1,000 residential units, 100,000 m2 of floor space and 3,000 new employment opportunities, the site is expected to benefit the local economy by £470 Gross Value Added (GVA). It will also increase visitors to the area, currently at 40 million per annum, by millions more.

This 10 year Enterprise Zone initiative plan is creative, innovative and exciting. The development of residential zones, vibrant retail markets, cultural and leisure attractions will create an exclusive destination already deemed to be one of the top 10 global locations by Rough Guides.

The development is located next to the most popular shopping area in the city. Attracting 40 million shoppers annually, it accrues £2 billion in revenue for the local economy with over 50 million travellers using New Street Station.

Integration of the Midland Metro Tram, pedestrian walkways and cycling routes will facilitate easy access to the Curzon Terminal for the proposed HS2 (high speed rail). Improvements for public transport are also planned.

Birmingham’s £500m Smithfield city development plans unveiled

Buy-to-let Investment in Birmingham

As city life becomes more popular, with many people wanting to live permanently near to where the action and all facilities are, Birmingham Smithfield at Digbeth is an ideal investment opportunity.  Buy to-let investment property has always been in demand but never more so than the interest that has been shown this prime location.  Off plan investment for proposed apartments is significantly high.

Huge investment is currently being negotiated with a major Taiwanese conglomerate and with super rich Chinese.  To benefit from this project investors need to be decisive.

Building has begun

If you would like more information about property investment in Birmingham city centre and surrounding areas contact us today. Ere Property has offices in the UK and Hong Kong offering property investment services that are trusted by investors across the globe.

Take a look at details of investment property opportunities in Digbeth, Birmingham:

The September changes to buy-to-let mortgages for property investors

The latest buy-to-let changes to affect investors will this time be felt by portfolio landlords who are looking to make another investment.

The Bank of England have placed new, tougher requirements on lenders including the interest rates-dependent ‘stress test’ on new mortgage applications. Any lenders who agree to fund an investor will have to look at the total portfolio of four or more mortgaged properties before making a decision about the type of financing for the single property application. This is because the whole portfolio has to be underwritten when applying for a new mortgage.

For multi-property landlords this may be a challenge as the whole portfolio has to be viable and most lenders have adopted the new rules meaning shopping round to find a lender who won’t apply this new criteria may be difficult. The amount of taxable income that you earn, the number of buy-to-let properties you own and whether you are part of a limited buy-to-let can affect the amount of the loan.

You can still be proactive as a portfolio investor even if you are not ready to invest again immediately. Having complete documentation of your buy-to-let properties and mortgages is an important first step and up-to-date proof of tax paid on your buy-to-let properties would be useful.

Surging property prices in Hong Kong encourage investors to look at UK buy-to-let

It’s no surprise to anyone with an eye on the international property market that affordability in Hong Kong has been on a steady decline for several years now as prices continue to rise.

At 2,754 km² the tiny island is home to over 7,400,000 people fighting for space and to accommodate them developers have resorted to building micro-homes. These tiny flats are designed to make intelligent use of limited room, but the diminishing space isn’t preventing prices from continuing to rise, breaking record highs.

The South China Morning Post recently held a “Redefining Hong Kong” debate series, titled: “Can Hong Kong rein in runaway housing prices?”. The debate, which was attended by staff from the ERE office in Wan Chai, discussed the difficulties the government faced in securing land to build new homes and how external factors such as US and Chinese economic conditions continued to affect price rises.
Optimists hope that house prices will start to correct over the next ten years but for expats who have moved to Hong Kong who are looking to make a financial investment in property, the prospect of investing locally is not feasible and they are looking for a more immediate opportunity.

For British expats who have moved to Hong Kong from the UK, ERE Property has been providing access to these opportunities, providing off-market deals and up-to-date regional knowledge of property in the UK. Our clients are working long hours and don’t have the time to act as a landlord. ERE has built up a service to offer these property investors a hands-free service with full lettings and management of their property. We value good service and operate with integrity and efficiency and as a result we have built up a network of investors who refer their friends and colleagues to us.

If you are based in Hong Kong, arrange a meeting with one of our Property Consultants to discuss why property investment in the UK’s regional cities is a good investment choice.

Comparing the Northern Powerhouse heavyweights

The key to Northern Powerhouse success is ensuring the sometimes neglected city regions are able to realise their economic potential. The task isn’t a small one and the Northern Powerhouse government minister is committed to balancing the UK’s economic output. Some positive outcomes of this focused strategy are emerging, as the Northern Powerhouse regions have seen inward investment increase even faster than the UK average. According to EY’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey, the north-west region attracted 90 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2016 – 60 per cent of which were first time investments in the region.

Centre for Cities has compiled data on 63 of the UK’s cities to understand and improve economic performance. So how do the cities of Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester compare when it comes to house prices, employment, GVA and graduate retention, all key factors for buy-to-let investors.

In the report, mean house prices in Manchester are £175,419, whilst in Liverpool they are lower at £131,046. In Leeds the mean house price is the highest at £186,206, although when you take population growth and demand for property into account, it is evident that Manchester is a good choice for investors as the population size in 2015, placed Manchester 3rd out of 63 cities in the UK.

The Centre for Cities research also took into account graduate retention rate, or graduate gain. Graduate retention gives an indication of a city’s ability to retain newly qualified graduates based on job prospects, wages and quality of life. Leeds graduate gain is the 3rd highest of all UK cities, whilst 50% of students who left Liverpool for university subsequently came back to work after graduation.

Please note:

* The cities are ranked in order out of 62 or 63, dependent on the criteria, with places closer to 1 at the top of the list.

* “The Centre for Cities uses data for Primary Urban Areas (PUA) in its analysis. This is a measure of the “built-up” area of a city, rather than individual local authority districts. PUAs are used in our analysis because they provide a consistent measure to compare concentrations of economic activity across the UK. This makes PUAs distinct from city region or combined authority geographies.”