The North West has long since ceased to be an “inside tip” amongst forward-looking property investors. It’s now one of the most vibrant property markets in the UK.
In fact, even though there is plenty of evidence that “northern capital” of Manchester and “second city” of Birmingham still have plenty of room for growth (and returns), some investors are now looking to take advantage of their development by investing in smaller cities or even satellite towns, which are still largely overlooked and hence can be excellent grounds for adventurous bargain hunters. If this sounds like you, then here are (some of) the best places to invest in the North West.
You could think of Liverpool as the Battersea of the North West. When its heavy industry departed, its fortunes took a bad turn, although it still retained clear traces of its former glory. Now, however, it’s busily engaged in a successful process of regeneration and it’s not just thriving, it’s one of the coolest places around. While coolness itself may not seem like a good reason to invest in an area, there are exceptions to every rule and Liverpool is one of them.
The two main reasons for this are its university and its tourist sector, both of which benefit from Liverpool’s image as a centre of culture, especially when it comes to music. As every property investor knows, students and buy-to-let are a natural combination and Liverpool’s growing economy combined with its overall affordability and high quality of life make it an increasingly attractive destination for young-adult professionals, who are also natural renters.
Search for Burnley on the internet and there’s a high chance you’ll see the football team listed before the city. This is a very unfair reflection on the metropolis, which has a strong local economy as well as providing a convenient base from which to commute to Manchester and Leeds (and several other places).
Astute property investors are eyeing Burnley as “the new Salford” as prices in the latter continue to rise apace, driven not only by its proximity to Manchester (which was once its main attraction) but also by the growth of its own local economy, of which the highlights are MediaCityUK and the University of Salford.
Although Burnley does not have a university of its own, Burnley College has a partnership arrangement with the University of Central Lancashire (known as UCLan Burnley) through which it offers degree courses.
Even though Bolton shares a name with one of fiction’s most infamous villains, there is nothing villainous about the Bolton property market. It’s already a pretty decent one in which to invest thanks to its own university, a solid local economy and excellent commuter links.
The reason why Bolton is gaining a new level of attention from investors familiar with the North West is because the Manchester–Preston line is now operational, thus making it even easier to commute from Bolton to Manchester (and Salford). While major rail initiatives such as HS2 and Crossrail have been making national news, the Manchester-Preston line has been largely ignored by the mainstream media with the result that investors unfamiliar with the area may not even know it exists, let alone appreciate its significance.
Mark Burns is the managing director of Manchester-based estate agents, Indlu.