Why invest in Preston?
The third largest city in the North West region of England and the largest city in Lancashire, Preston offers outstanding transport connections, a thriving higher education sector, a growing economy and is the subject of an extensive investment programme set to send Preston into the very top of the list of the best places to live in the UK.
Though not as well-known as its neighbours Preston is set to follow in the footsteps of nearby investment hotspots Manchester and Liverpool – savvy investors have begun securing property in certain areas of the city in a bid to get ahead of the curve.
What is Prestons economy Like?
Though it might have been overlooked 10 or 20 years ago, the local government have made huge strides focusing on improving the city which has seen its economy take off. Having been voted the most improved city in Britain in 2018 by accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers the city is showing no signs of slowing down.
Preston is forward thinking and business friendly, the city has a unique charm and is incredibly proud of its industrial history. Young professionals are increasingly attracted to living in the city due to exciting job opportunities, high quality of life and a lower cost of living than other top cities around the UK.
Key employers include the university, the NHS and advanced technical manufacturing businesses such as BAE systems who have two sites locally. The type of businesses operating in the area and the jobs are attracting highly skilled workers to the city.
Preston enjoys a very high rate of employment which over the last few years has remained to be around 80%, the UK average is around 75%.
According to the Centre for Cities, Cities Outlook report for 2020, Preston continues to be in the top 10 cities with the highest employment rate when compared to cities across the rest of the UK and is the only city not within the southern area of the UK to feature in the top 10.
What is the rental market like in Preston?
The high employment rate is a clear positive for investors due to the high proportion of prospective tenants in work.
According to Preston City Council, the city’s population is growing more rapidly than other cities. Between mid-2001 and mid-2017, Preston had an increase in the population of 8.4%, which was greater than the overall North West region’s population growth at 7.2%.
Another driver of the rental market is The University of Central Lancashire, one of the UK’s largest universities, which has a student body of around 33,000 along with thousands of teaching and administrative staff.
The university is continuing to grow with a £200 million transformation plan in place for the Preston Campus including several major projects including the Engineering Innovation Centre which is set to cement Lancashire’s position as a national centre of excellence for advanced engineering, manufacturing and aerospace.
With the investment into the city, top university and the huge appeal of the city generally, the population is set to increase further over the coming years pushing rental demand even higher.
What is Preston like as an investment location?
When investing in property connectivity is key and Preston is exceptionally well connected. Manchester and Liverpool are both around 27 miles away and take about an hour to reach by rail or road, making them very accessible. There are also two airports within 90 minutes’ drive of Preston.
Travelling by rail, not only can you reach Manchester and Liverpool easily but being on the West Coast Main Line means that London, Edinburgh and Glasgow can all be reached in a little over two hours.
One of the greatest appeals to living in Preston is its proximity to some of the UK’s finest beauty spots. The Lake District is about 40 miles north; from Preston, you can reach Windermere in around an hour and other destinations such as the Fylde Coast, Bowland Fells, Blackpool and the Yorkshire Dales are all within easy reach.
Is Preston a good place to invest?
Property in Preston is relatively inexpensive compared to most other cities in the UK and prices are rising at a steady rate. Landlords are realising rental yields of over 7% in central Preston locations which is a very solid return considering the low entry points for purchasing a buy-to-let property in Preston.
Whilst there is a considerable pipeline of exciting developments much has already taken place in Preston and it’s already widely regarded as a model of successful urban regeneration. Preston is part of a £435 million investment, via the Preston and Lancashire City Deal, which is set to improve the city’s infrastructure. The city council have high ambitions for economic growth and are dedicated to ensuring 20,000 new jobs are created by 2026.
The North West region is set to see the highest capital growth of any region in the UK over the next five years with real estate agent Savills predicting around 24% price growth in that time.
If you’re planning on investing in property and are looking for the next buy-to-let hotspot please do contact us to explore the best options to suit your future plans.