Bradford is a city that manages to blend the West Yorkshire rural scenery perfectly with urban living. The city has a youthful population, a lot of history and huge ambitions. Besides affordable living conditions and an enterprise-driven economy, the city is in a prime location to benefit from major transportation initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse Rail.
There is a lot of funding being poured into the city to augment the city to promote its small to medium size businesses. The aim is to use the exceptional growth for enhancement of the region’s economy to boost the skill level and jobs for its population.
Bradford is no longer content to live in the shadow of its neighbours. It is investing in its youthful population to ensure that its future is bright. Here is a bit more about the property investment scene in this magnificent city.
History of the City
Bradford city started as a northern textile-focused town. Many buildings in this town can trace their history from 1850 to 1915. They are built using the local Millstone Grit. At the start of the 1900s, many merchants had accumulated a lot of wealth in the city. Good evidence of this is the Victorian architecture dotted all over the city.
It now has a population of about 500,000 people. In the 80s and early 90s, the city faced high job loss rates. However, a lot has happened in recent years and the rate of unemployment has fallen a lot.
One of the reasons why the city is growing so fast is its proximity to major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds. For instance, Leeds is just 10 miles away while Liverpool and Manchester can be reached in about 90 minutes by car. It is also about 200 miles from Glasgow, Cardiff, and London. This makes it a great tourist base from which to explore Britain. The Leeds Bradford International Airport is 20 minutes from Bradford and flies to most major destinations in Europe. There are also railway stations in the city, which run trains to Welsh, English, and Scottish cities all the time. The airport is expanding and it offers low-cost flights for major UK cities like London.
A major achievement of Bradford was being the first UNESCO City of Film. It has a major historical connection to the arts. The city is a major film producer and distributor. There is a National Media Museum, which aims to educate and inform the residents and tourists about the long and rich history of the city in film. It also hosts the Bradford International Film Festival, which attracts tourists in the thousands. The festival is the oldest animation festival in Britain. The city received the UNESCO recognition due to a rich history of cinematography starting as far back as the 1890s.
Some of the first movies in the world were displayed at the Kineoptoscope Parlour inside the city. Once the Cinematograph Act was passed in 1909, there were various purpose-built cinema halls inside the city.
In the modern era, the city has been an important location for TV and film production for global and UK companies. Due to its history as a cultural hub, coupled with a young population driving the city’s cultural history, this place is a hotspot for investment in property.
The student population in the city is growing quite fast. The student figures have grown a lot in the past 5 years. All students come to the city looking for student lettings in Bradford. Thus, this has led to a robust rental market developing in the city. It currently has a student population of over 10,000. This has proven quite attractive to investors of student property due to the assured student supply in the city.
The Benefit of Being Close to Leeds
Bradford is just 10 miles from Leeds, which is the financial centre of northern England. Soon, people will be priced out of Leeds and will need to move to Bradford. This is already happening in some cases. In Bradford, the prices of property are at half or less than half for comparable properties to those in Leeds. This is quite promising. Due to the efficient train system linking Bradford to Leeds, those leaving in the centre of Bradford could be in Leeds in 15 minutes.
Great Rental Yields
The rental market in Bradford is quite strong. Besides that, rental prices are quite reasonable. It costs about 60 thousand pounds for a four-bedroom house. The best place to buy property in Bradford is about a 10-minute walk from the universities or near the city centre. This will eliminate the risk of void periods.
The Proximity to Motorways
Bradford is quite close to the M62, which is the main motorway from Manchester to Leeds. Besides that, accessing south using the M1 is quite easy. When compared to other nearby cities, the traffic in the city of Bradford is quite light. The motorway heading south is the M606 that is just 7 minutes from the centre of the city.
Bradford has been showing signs of positive regeneration in the past few years. One area where positive progress was felt was in the redevelopment of Little Germany, which is at the city centre. However, it is only recently that fast progress has been experienced. For instance, buildings in front of the town hall were brought down with plans to create a beautiful lake. In the zone, there will be pedestrianised areas and cafes. This will all make the city centre much better. The city council is quite committed to the improvement and regeneration effort.
About Little Germany
Little Germany was established in the mid-19th century. A picturesque area is dotted with Victorian buildings. It is undergoing a major renovation effort. For instance, the old mills have been turned into modern offices, apartments, and hotels.
A major part of the appeal of Little German is the central location within Bradford. It is in easy walking distance of all the major commercial area. For instance, it is just a minute’s walk from the £250 million Westfield shopping mall. It makes it possible for residents to experience genuine city centre life. Today, it is the focus of some of the biggest property developers nationally who wish to benefit from the apartment demand boom.
Thus far, Little Germany has attracted major employers such as Grattan Holdings, the international retailer. The headquarters of Grattan Holdings in Little Germany employ about 300 people. It is located in a refurbished former warehouse in Little Germany. You will also find some of the biggest employers in Bradford just a walking distance from Little Germany. These include Yorkshire Building Society and Morrisons.
Architecture and Tourism in Bradford
Bradford is home to many buildings of great historical importance. This is back from when it was a successful textile town. Most of them stand to this day and there are bargains to be had for investors. If you have always desired to own an early Victorian o Georgian house in the city centre, Bradford is the place to visit. It could be a great long-term investment.
One significant thing about Bradford is how many tourist attractions there are. The council is working hard to promote Bradford and thus tourism will continue to grow. A good example of this is the Bronte County area.
Prospects for Employment
For decades, unemployment was a huge issue due to the fall of textiles and manufacturing. However, the city has managed to reinvent itself. The growth of service industries, banking, and retail are breathing life into the city and reducing unemployment. Besides that, many people go to neighbouring towns for work. This has helped to reduce unemployment in West Yorkshire in general.
As a result, this will promote housing demand as more people find work, meaning the locals can afford to own homes. When you invest in areas, which have had a history of high unemployment that is dropping, this is usually a good move. The housing prices usually start to rise as more people find work.
The Leeds Ripple Effect
Leeds was the first town to see housing prices rise a few years back. This is after the city began to grow in prominence as a centre of finance for northern England. Besides that, the L1 city district regeneration led to rising prices. In just a short while, the prices for property in Edgebaston had tripled.
The ripple effect then spread to other nice towns near Leeds such as Skipton and Keighley. Other towns such as Huddersfield also felt the effect. However, Bradford was left behind. Part of the reason was the Mannington riots a while back. International media covered the riots, which made things worse for property prices in Bradford. This was despite the fact that Mannington was two miles to the northwest of the city.
However, prices later began to move up due to the Leeds ripple effect as people forgot about the riots. It has been over a decade since and thus far, things are looking up.
The Young and Educated Growing Population
Bradford has one of the youngest populations in the UK and this population is growing. In the coming 20 years, this population will grow by 10% to reach almost 600,000. For those who wish to settle here, there are many quality schools, out of the 220 schools, 20 are rated as outstanding by the Ofsted. There are also 23 private schools.
The growing, young, and educated population naturally attracts businesses. Buy to let investors will find numerous opportunities in Bradford. The tenant demand is unlikely to die down anytime soon.
A Transport Centre for Northern England
The government clearly has plans to establish a high-speed rail station in the city. This will bring the cities of Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, and Manchester closer. As a result, it will make little difference whether one lives in Leeds or Manchester once the high-speed rail station is done. With property prices and the cost of living being lower, it is likely even more people will try to move into the city, which is great for the property market. With the development, Manchester will be just 20 affordable minutes away.
It is estimated that the knock-on effect will be £1.3 billion to the Bradford economy. Besides that, the forecast for population growth was made before the high-speed rail announcement. This could cause the local population to grow even faster than expected.
A City for All
Bradford is a city for all. If you love the countryside or restaurants, bars, and bistros, you will always have an option. One of the places that people in the city like is the £25 million Bradford City Park. It is a place to relax, meet, and host outdoor events. If you love to eat out, there is always a restaurant serving the cuisine you love.
Get in Early
Right now, prices of property in Bradford are quite low. However, that will not always be the case. The average price of property has grown by 6%, which is huge to about £128,000. This is still about £80,000 below the national level. This means there is going to be room for growth. For the investors looking to buy or to let, the rental yield is quite attractive. The average rent prices provide a yield of about 5.25%.
The Economy and Multiculturalism
Besides being an ancient city with many historical attractions, Bradford is also quite modern and it has embraced multiculturalism. It is one of the reasons it is known as the Curry Capital of Britain. Its multiculturalism makes it a vibrant place to live, play, and work. You can usually find a new side to the city every weekend.
In the past, the city has had to carry the burden of an uneducated stereotype. However, the city has worked hard to revamp itself into a modern and educated city. Many people are choosing to ignore that stereotype and in the process discovering wonderful things. Small and medium-sized businesses are thriving for those who settle here.
The economy has seen a strong performance in the recent past. In fact, it is one of the strongest in the region. It is now estimated to be about £9.5 billion. This makes it the eighth largest in the UK and the third biggest in Yorkshire.
During the de-industrialisation period, the city was hit quite hard. The economy was brought to its knees by the changes. However, the city has since moved from that time to become a modern and improved economy. It is going back to its glorious past in a region being dubbed the Northern Powerhouse.
While manufacturing and major industries have died, the city has embraced other sectors. It has done so well that it contributes about 8.4 percent of the overall output of the region. The figure places it in the same league as cities such as Sheffield and Leeds.
A major boost to its economy is due to a growing appeal to financial services providers like Yorkshire Building Society, Provident Financial, and Santander UK. These companies are all some of the largest employers in the city. However, the beauty of Bradford is that it is not tied to one sector. There are various companies from various sectors, which call the city home.
For instance, the Yorkshire Water company has its headquarters in the city. There are many other companies such as Seabrook Potato Crisps, which call the city their home. In total, over 15,200 companies operate in the city and they employ over 192,000 people. This is about 15 percent of all employment in the Leeds City Region.
Besides that, the UNESCO recognition as a cultural city has really done wonders for the city. This has led to about 9.2 million people visiting Bradford per year. As its reputation grows due to efforts by the council, the figures will continue to rise. Thus far, 91 percent of visitors to the city are domestic. However, this will change in the future. It is especially so as the reputation as a cultural center continues to grow globally.
Is it Worth the Investment?
All research shows that investing in Bradford is a good idea. Thus far, it is a property market with a lot of potential in 2018. A lot of investment into regenerating the city has been made. As a result, it has borne fruit for the city. The prices are still quite low but this will always be the case. Prices will change in the future, especially due to the high-speed rail station.
For beginner investors, Bradford is perfect. It can be a great way to grow capital and move into larger markets. Consequently, it has been found that average prices are about £80,000 below the national average. However, the city has a solid economy that is showing growth. Therefore, it will rise eventually. Even the most pessimistic figures still show Bradford is rising. It is best to get in on the ground floor and win big later.