Huge investment into the regeneration of the UK’s metropolitan areas is creating new and exciting opportunities for those with a keen eye on the property market.
As the country finds its feet again after an unpredictable year, investors are searching for their next venture and for many the chance to diversify is more important than ever before.
Emerging and established regeneration hotspots are ready to bounce back and present real promise for those looking to spread their investments and explore new markets. By tapping into this potential, investors can get ahead of the game and unlock new capital.
Here we put the spotlight on five key up and coming regions ripe for regeneration that you need to know about as you embark on your next investment journey.
It’s hard to ignore Manchester’s fast-paced climb to the top of the leaderboard for economic and cultural development. The city has picked up a raft of accolades in recent years, from being crowned the fastest growing tech city in Europe thanks to its popularity among start-ups, to being named the most liveable city in the UK.
Home to MediaCityUK, the home of ITV and BBC, Manchester is an enterprising city and has seen a 58% increase in registered businesses since 2014. That, coupled with rapid population growth has seen demand for property skyrocket, so it’s no surprise that developers continue to snap up prime city centre locations perfect for new homes or quality commercial space. In fact, according to Deloitte’s Manchester Crane Survey 2020, the total number of units completed in Manchester last year was at the highest level since 2006.
But Manchester is far from finished when it comes to its regeneration plans. Research published last year revealed that the city has the third-highest amount of commercial and residential space to grow, with a total 14,534 empty dwellings (10,531 residential and 4,003 commercial)—good news for Manchester City Council, which has lofty ambitions to supply Manchester with 32,000 new homes by 2025 as it tries to keep up with demand.
There are a number of areas earmarked for redevelopment in the city, including Mayfield which will see a complete overhaul thanks to £1.4bn worth of investment, along with the visionary Piccadilly East project, transforming long underutilised areas into world-class, mixed-use urban neighbourhoods on the doorstep of the city’s largest train station.
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Preston is an up and coming UK city with big ambitions. A number of landmark investment schemes have been announced in recent years which will advance the economy and city centre landscape, with a focus on enhancing local transport links, stimulating business and creating more homes.
One of the largest of the schemes is the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal which will see £434m of new investment poured into Preston. Set to deliver 17,420 new homes to the residential market and create more than 20,000 jobs, it has been described by Preston City Council as “a landmark agreement to achieve a once-in-a-lifetime transformation of the area”. It is hoped that the City Deal will grow the local economy by £1bn over the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, Preston is also keen to invest in its reputation as a vibrant university destination, with the UCLAN Masterplan set to pour £200m into the it’s city centre campus, putting UCLAN on the map as a world-class education facility.
As well as supporting new business development and education opportunities, plans are also in place to breathe new life into some of the more underutilised areas of Preston city centre. One of the largest regeneration schemes in the city is the Stoneygate Masterplan. This 15 year scheme was given the go-ahead this year and aims to redevelop 25 hectares of land, creating a contemporary ‘urban village’, with 1,600 new homes and space for an independent commercial offering.
These plans continue to make Preston an attractive city for investment for those looking to diversify their portfolio.
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Leicester hasn’t always featured on the shortlist for UK investors. Acute underinvestment outside of the city’s inner ring road and stiff competition from better established metropolitan hotspots has previously stifled the growth in the area. However, a new vision for Leicester is now fuelling dramatic transformation across the city, unlocking previously untapped potential.
The £250m regeneration of the Waterside district—the ‘biggest in decades in terms of homes and jobs created and economic output’—has become the symbol for a new and improved Leicester. The project sets out to regenerate one of the city’s most neglected areas through five major commercial and residential schemes that will create a brand-new 150-acre neighbourhood and boost Leicester’s reputation as a place to live and invest.
It marks a ‘vital’ moment for the future of the city, with Mayor Peter Soulsby heralding investment beyond the confines of the inner ring road and the ‘exciting possibilities’ it promises as investors begin to see Leicester in a new light.
Numerous other projects are helping to redefine the city region, enhancing its accessibility, heritage sites and economic prospects as it moves into Covid-19 recovery mode.
The City Council’s Connecting Leicester scheme is one such project transforming Leicester’s framework at street level to open up the city and boost the local economy, after announcing 17 major projects. Works involve removing ‘barriers that make it difficult for people to move from one area to another’, significant provision of cycle routes and pedestrianisation of key retail areas to create environments where business can thrive.
Built on its rich industrial heritage and recognised today as one of the UKs most popular cities to study in, Nottingham has great potential for investment, bolstered by a number of significant regeneration schemes which will modernise the city centre and help the city fulfil its potential now, and long into the future.
Nottingham’s Southern Gateway project will transform the south side of the city, with a £250m cash injection set to reinvigorate the Broadmarsh area, including major work to redevelop the city centre layout by creating pedestrian friendly green spaces and making the city accessible to wider areas of Nottingham. A worthwhile project for a city with ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2028.
Significant work is also being carried on the Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station, Central Library, and Nottingham College City Hub, which will create a vibrant retail and leisure space, improving the cultural appeal of the city for residents and visitors.
More recently, a “once in a generation” regeneration plan has been unveiled for Nottingham in the form of a £650m investment into the city’s ‘Island Quarter’, one of the largest regeneration plans in the UK. The scheme will deliver much needed entertainment and commercial space, with plans to overhaul the canal basin, creating a unique hub in the city centre.
According to JLL’s Living with 2020 Vision: UK City Centre Forecasts, The West Midlands and South West economies are in great shape and forecast to grow by 2% annually over the next five years, outpacing other key regions including London and the South East.
Birmingham was on the rise in 2019, buoyed by its young, diverse population, a strong services sector, and vibrant start-up and digital tech ecosystems, and has shown promising resilience in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic with a cluster of regeneration projects at the centre of the city’s transformation from underappreciated to investment hotspot.
Eastside Locks is a £450m city centre regeneration scheme that has been described as the most "exciting and important city in Europe". The project brings to life a mixed-use neighbourhood on the banks of Digbeth canal, establishing Birmingham’s newest bar and restaurant scene and a 37-storey head-turning tower.
The ambitious Big City Plan is another regeneration scheme changing the face of Birmingham’s landscape. Encompassing several large investment projects, the Plan seeks to reimagine some of the city’s most tired and underutilised areas.
One such project, the £500m Arena Central, due for completion in 2020, has been developed with the vision to create a bustling retail, leisure and business hub in the heart of Birmingham on the site of an old wholesale market.
Running adjacent to this, the Smithfield project (works scheduled to start in 2022) will introduce new residential opportunities into the area, as well as boosting the local culture scene, accommodating for museums, markets, major concerts and more.
The future is bright for Birmingham and we expect the area to go from strength to strength—for investors in UK property, it’s one of the most productive cities on the map.
For more information about investing in the UK’s most impressive up and incoming property markets, contact us today >>