Property Prices Are Reaching Landmark In Bradford City Centre

bradford city centre
Property Prices Are Reaching Landmark In Bradford City Centre Aspen Woolf

Valuations of high-specification apartments in the former wool merchants’ quarter of Bradford have broken through a major barrier, a new report has revealed.

Research showing that some property valuations are now exceeding £300 per square foot in Little Germany has been welcomed by developers and regeneration chiefs, who see it as evidence that Bradford’s improving image is boosting investor confidence.

The significant milestone has been highlighted by Bradford city centre living specialist Squarefoot Apartments in its latest update on the Bradford property market, which it supplies to investors in the UK and overseas.

The study, which scrutinises up-to-date valuations on the newest apartment developments in Little Germany, shows that £250 per square foot is now being achieved on a regular basis for normal apartments, creeping above £300 per square foot for higher specification apartments, such as penthouses.

When compared to a recent property price study by the Halifax, the figures show that high-specification properties in Little Germany, which is undergoing considerable regeneration, are valued at more than twice the average for the rest of the city, where the figure is £124 per square foot.

In comparison, property prices in London average £360 per square foot, with more desirable homes in Belgravia commanding £2,000 per square foot.

Sheikh Mani Waheed, managing director for Squarefoot Apartments, said:

“Apartments in the Gatehaus, the impressive new building now nearing completion by Asquith Properties in Little Germany, along with others now being developed in the area by German company Garbe, are all achieving values of more than £250 per square foot.

“And the penthouse of the Gatehaus was valued at more than £300 per square foot.

“This is a clear indicator that, despite property prices falling in some parts of the country, the value of high quality apartments in Bradford is still increasing.”

The findings come at a time when Holroyd Properties has just completed a major scheme to convert a former mill into a 17-apartment development at Merchant’s Court, in East Parade, Little Germany.

The new apartments are valued at £250 per square foot and the penthouse, which has views stretching across Bradford, is set to fetch nearly £200,000.

Squarefoot Apartments, the agent for the Merchant’s Court scheme, estimates that property valuations will rise by another five to seven per cent as soon as construction work begins on the city’s Broadway shopping scheme.

Maud Marshall, chief executive of Bradford Centre Regeneration, said:

“Breaking through the £300 per square foot valuation level is a significant milestone in the regeneration of Bradford city centre. Bradford has a rich heritage with a strong collection of listed buildings. This creates a stunning environment in which to develop an exciting city people can live, work play or invest in.

“There is a vast amount of work taking place in Little Germany to ensure that we have a high-quality residential offer. Developments by companies such as Asquith Properties, Garbe UK and Holroyd Construction are creating unique living opportunities in Little Germany and are helping to create a strong city centre residential market.”

Dr Harold Robinson, chairman of Shipley-based Magellan Properties, welcomed the valuation breakthrough.

He said:

“Our investment in The Channel, a £350m urban village on which phase one begins next year, represents our unshakeable confidence in the future of Bradford as the new property hotspot of Yorkshire.

“The development will transform Bradford’s property portfolio for commercial, leisure and residential investors offering outstanding opportunities in this up and coming market.”

Source: Squarefoot, Telegraph & Argus & Squarefoot Apartments

Leeds Office Take-Up Remains Strong

Leeds properties

Leeds office take-up levels have remained strong in the third quarter of 2018 according to the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum (LOAF).

The Leeds’ city centre office market recorded 191,464 sq ft of take-up in the third quarter (Q3), taking the year-to-date total is 528,654 sq ft.

City centre activity across the three months from July to September was buoyed by two lettings at 3 Wellington Place, with HMRC agreeing terms on 60,000 sq ft of space and accountancy firm Mazars taking 13,000 sq ft. Of the 39 city centre transactions to complete, four were over 10,000 sq ft.

This compares to the 557,990 sq ft recorded by the end of September 2017, a total which included the 378,000 sq ft GPA deal.

The Forum expects the end of year total will be in the region of 700,000 sq ft.

Leeds Office Take-Up Remains Strong Aspen Woolf

Roddy Morrison, from Colliers International and LOAF spokesperson, said: “The positive momentum has continued in Q3 and, given the number of active occupier requirements, the Leeds office market looks set for another stellar performance.

“Leeds is one of the regional cities in the running for Channel 4’s ‘National HQ’ outside of London and, if the broadcaster decides on our city, it would further underpin the quality of offering available within Leeds and help accelerate the case for further investment and development.”

Jill Goodman, from GVA, added: “HMRC’s acquisition was a sizeable letting, in the context of Leeds market, and leaves a limited amount of standing Grade A product available in the city centre. To satisfy future occupier demand, it is critical we see a response to this continued appetite for good quality product. With only around 66,000 sq ft under construction, which has not already been prelet, the onus is on developers to address the lack of new offices coming through.”

Leeds to house 6,000 civil servants as HMRC signs latest hub deal

Leeds has largest regional economy outside London/South East

Some 6,000 civil servants are to relocate to new offices in Leeds, as HM Revenue and Customs has confirmed a 25-year lease on almost 380,000 square feet of a business park in the city centre.

The announcement of new office space in Wellington Place is part of  Cabinet Office’s controversial regional hubs plan, which saw agreements over the summer to rehouse 2,900 staff in Edinburgh and almost 4,000 in Cardiff.

The idea behind the scheme is for various government departments to share buildings in one of around 20 “strategic hubs” across the UK, to save money, boost regional growth, and encourage collaboration and flexible working practices – all hubs will be supported by smart technology and shared services.

In Leeds, NHS Digital has confirmed it will move in alongside HMRC, which will use Wellington Place as one of the 13 regional centres being opened to replace around 170 offices shutting down across the country.

Leeds to house 6,000 civil servants as HMRC signs latest hub deal Aspen Woolf

Jon Thompson, HMRC chief executive, described the Leeds announcement as “another step in HMRC’s transformation into a modern digitally advanced tax authority”.

He added: “It’s the beginning of a process that will see around 3,800 colleagues come together in state-of-the art facilities, enabling closer working relationships and increasing our effectiveness in collecting taxes.

“It will also make HMRC an important contributor to the economy and to communities in and around Leeds.”

The HMRC regional hubs scheme has also been criticised. In January, the National Audit Office found that the changes would cost 22% more than initially anticipated, while in April the Public Accounts Committee urged the tax authority to reconsider its plans, which it said would impact negatively on local employment.

Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital – which she said is one of Leeds’ major employers – added that their involvement in the regional hub would be a significant investment boost to the city.

Caroline Nokes, minister for government resilience and efficiency, added: “The Leeds hubs will be a catalyst for growth in the surrounding cities and towns, helping rebalance the UK economy and underpin our strategy for a strong, well-connected Northern Powerhouse that can continue to provide good-quality jobs and economic growth across the region.”

Like in Edinburgh and Cardiff, staff will move to their new offices in Leeds by 2020.

In a report published last month, the Centre for Cities questioned whether relocating public sector jobs outside London would automatically stimulate local economic growth for host cities.

Paul Swinney, principal economist of the think tank Centre for Cities, wrote in Civil Service World: “Relocating public sector jobs is unlikely to do much to tackle the fundamental challenges facing the cities where growth has been stalling over the past four decades.

“If the government is to move public sector bodies out of London, it should be clear about its reasons for doing so, and set up a proper evaluation of the move

Conditioning House wins Best Apartment Development in West Yorkshire award

conditioning house bradford exterior thumbnail

 

The £8.5 million redevelopment scheme from the Leeds-based developer Pristley Homes, which specialises in the regeneration of historic buildings, was named the Best Apartment Development in the Yorkshire region at the recent awards. The award was presented at ceremony at the Royal Lancaster hotel in London, attended by chief executive, Nathan Priestley, and team.

Mr Priestley said: “These awards reflect the incredibly talented, hard-working teams across our development, construction and estate agency divisions. To be recognised by such a prestigious awarding body is testament to the positive, lasting impact we’re making on the region and beyond. “This year has been huge for the Priestley Group; our development pipeline surpasses £100million and we have a construction order book of more than £40million. With record turnovers expected for each of the companies in the group over the next three years, we’re well on the way to building on our successes.”

Work began last month on Conditioning House near Bradford city centre. The building has been standing empty for three decades and in May planning permission was received to redeveloped the historic building for residential and commercial use. The Cape Street building will be turned into a total of 133 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

Conditioning House wins Best Apartment Development in West Yorkshire award Aspen Woolf

There will also be a residents’ gym and cafe, as well as 1,350 square metres of managed office space for local businesses. An 18-month programme of work has begun and is being carried out by the developer’s contracting arm, Priestley Construction. Construction will secure about 100 on-site jobs as well as supporting a further 500 jobs locally through suppliers. When planning permission was granted, Mr Priestley told the T&A: “Conditioning House has been empty for 30 years, so we’re very happy our plans to transform it into a thriving community have been approved by the council.

“Once completed, we believe the development will be one of the best Bradford has to offer, providing high quality living spaces and extra amenities that raise the benchmark for urban living. “We can’t wait to launch this development to market for locals and buy-to-let investors alike.” Conditioning House was built by the council in 1902 as a wool testing centre through a special Act of Parliament in 1887.

Almost 70 per cent of all wool produced in the UK was brought there for testing prior to use. The Priestley Group has its headquarters in Leeds and the firm launched a London office in October 2018 to support major growth plans and developments in the pipeline of more than 700 homes across 20 major schemes.

 

For further information on this amazing development, get in touch with the team at Aspen Woolf today!

What is behind Dubai’s strength as a real estate proposition?

Over 30,000 properties are expected to be added to the market in early 2018.

Dubai’s real estate growth is driven mostly by a combination of overseas investors living all over the world, and foreign nationals living in the UAE.

For 2017, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) recorded a total of 69,069 completed real estate transactions. The combined value of these transactions is more than Dh 285 million ($77.6 billion). This figure breaks down as Dh107 billion ($29.15 billion) invested by 39,480 investors making 52,958 transactions, and more than 65% of this is by foreign investors.

The total value of the land transactions in Dubai in 2017 is worth Dh285 billion. To put this figure into context, this is higher than the GDP of an astonishing 144 countries from the 211 recognised by the United Nations.

Figures show that around 23,000 non-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and non-Arab investors completed 30,000 property transactions worth about Dh56 billion. Around 9,790 nationals completed or were involved in just over 14,380 transactions with a combined total of more than Dh37 billion. Almost 7,000 investors from Arab states but non-GCC completed 8,644 real estate transactions worth more than Dh14 billion.

Where are overseas investors from?

The largest number of foreign investors in 2017 came from India, making Dh15.6 billion worth of property transactions in Dubai. Next on the list was Saudi Arabian nationals who collectively invested more than Dh7 billion, then British and Pakistani investors whose investments came to Dh6 million and Dh5 million respectively.

Other nations investing increasingly in Dubai real estate are China, Egypt, Jordan and Canada.

Why is Dubai attracting this amount of investment?

These figures are extraordinary, particularly when it’s considered the total investment is higher than many countries’ GDP (gross domestic product), as mentioned earlier. The reasons behind this phenomenal overseas investment lie within the unique advantages Dubai offers as a global investment region.

The biggest reason for the investment specifically for the real estate sector is the very attractive RoI (Return on Investment) that can be earned by investors. This is a main consideration for any kind of investor before making a decision.

Rental income is an important consideration as part of the RoI as it matures straight away, when compared with capital appreciation that can only be achieved through the sale of the property or by releasing equity through a mortgage.

Average RoI in Dubai

The average amount of RoI earned on apartments in Dubai in 2017 was 7%. Villas achieved 5%, despite a general softening of sales prices and rent amounts. Research shows that for a two-bed apartment costing Dh1 million, an investor could net rental returns of Dh80,000. This is an 8% annual return on investment and would lead the investor to recover the entire investment within just 12.5 years even without inflation.

However, it’s worthwhile taking the post hand-over payment plans that are used by some people. This is where the buyer/investor pays 50% or Dh500,000 when the property is handed over, with the rest due within three to five years. As the rent from the very first day would remain the same, it would mean a RoI of 16% for the investor.

World-leading real estate sector

Dubai leads the real estate sector globally in terms of major cities offering investment hotspots. Returns average between 7 and 8% per year, which is high when compared with other high performing cities.

The sector is also helped with the solid regulatory environment. This reassures investors and ensures protection. During the last decade, the DLD has strengthened the regulatory and legal framework to make sure best practice is in force at every level of property management, from development to sale.

In addition to these positive points, Dubai has an accessible and liberal foreign exchange regime that promotes strong connectivity with investors from overseas. As it allows the free movement of profit and capital with little to no restriction, it’s obviously an attractive proposition for major investors.

This infrastructure is being refined all the time and is consistently improving. The progressive economy, consistent and continuous expansion of major infrastructure and world-class attractions has completely transformed Dubai into the five-star property investment destination it is today.

Aspen Woolf on 2018’s top ten property hotspots in the UK

Leeds City Skyline view

We’ve had a look at the best UK hotspots for property investment across the UK. Our top ten shows where it’s best to invest money for guaranteed demand and the highest capital growth.

The market has become used to inflated prices in the south east and London and savvy investors are looking away from the traditional investment regions towards the north. Infrastructure improvements courtesy of the Northern Powerhouse are starting to show results. Recent reports from KPMG show that the North West, North East and Yorkshire will all see some of the highest average house price growth over the next ten years. Check out our top ten.

  1. Bradford

Just five miles from Leeds, Bradford is often in its shadow, but it’s an affordable area going through its own period of regeneration. It’s more of a large town than a true city and is full of typical northern-street terraced houses and Victorian homes with bay windows. You can buy a one-bed flat as little as £75,000! Landlords can expect yields of 8% on two-bed homes in the affordable postcodes BD7 and 8.

  1. Manchester

Manchester is the fastest-growing city outside of London and is home some impressive regeneration projects. These are led by the Salford Quays media complex and the digitally-orientated Northern Quarter. There’s no doubt that 2018 is a good time to invest in property in Manchester, with high ROIs in areas such as Chorlton, Salford and Fallowfield. Prices are rising fast and yields are around twice those in London. About half of the housing stock is private rents, and the massive student population underpins demand for flats.

  1. Liverpool

Another northern city benefiting from inward investment and large-scale job creation, Liverpool is also on the up. Flagship projects include the Liverpool Waters scheme, which has cost around £5 billion. This will transform a massive brownfield site into five new neighbourhoods. Property investment in Liverpool centres around a young, keen workforce looking for long term rentals. Average house prices are on the lower end but are increasing.

  1. Leeds

Leeds is a shining star of the Northern Powerhouse, having come to the end of a long process of gentrification. It’s now a stylish, ultra-modern city with an impressive amount of housing. As it shares an airport with Bradford and will benefit from HS2, it has garnered the attention of overseas investors buying up new builds. However, there are good capital growth opportunities, with areas LS1 and LS11 working well for city workers, and the further out LS6 and LS8 achieving high yields.

  1. Birmingham

The second biggest city in the UK is the heart of the country and home to 4.5 million. There is a real shortage of rental accommodation, which is pushing property prices up. Demand is particularly strong in areas like Edgbaston and Halesowen, and any cash buyers could do well out of non-traditional properties in areas like Kings Norton.

  1. Sheffield

Demand is outweighing supply at the moment in this South Yorkshire city. It’s likely that Sheffield, along with Bradford, will benefit from prices increases in Leeds as first-time buyers become priced out of the market. The S1/S2 postcodes offer some of the highest rental yields in the country.  Prices have tripled since 2001, but it’s perfect for investors looking to add to their portfolio with on-street terraces for £50,000 or three-bed ex council houses for £75,000.

  1. Hull

Hull has one of the highest proportions of young people in the UK, thanks to the investment in digital tech and windpower the city has enjoyed since it was 2017’s City of Culture. Student lettings return high yields and it’s likely that price growth and steady demand for rentals will continue to make Hull popular for buy-to-let investors.

  1. Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Analysis last year suggested that Newcastle and the North East (including Gateshead, Sunderland, North and South Shields) will house England’s most affordable properties over the coming decades. While capital growth isn’t an incentive here right now, it could be a wise long-term portfolio investment.

  1. Nottingham

Nottingham is often overlooked but has the UK’s seventh biggest economy and is likely to benefit from the proposed HS2 station. Extensions to the tram network have seen prices increase in suburbs like Wilford, Beeston and Clifton.

  1. Leicester

Leicester’s economy is bigger than Nottingham’s and is home to many household brand name companies. This means inward migration of young professionals, and house prices rose throughout 2017. Semi-detached and terraced houses are particularly in demand, with the best areas to invest in buy-to-let include LE3, where you could get a terrace with yields over 5%.

Ten Things You Never Knew About Bradford

bradford city centre

Bradford is a resilient community and a city that has been through the mill, in more ways than one. Now enjoying a cultural renaissance, it’s a true Pennine city with lots in common with the nearby towns of Huddersfield and Halifax in particular.

It’s also one of the biggest cities in England by population size, coming in fifth after Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and London. Many first-time visitors are surprised by the sheer number of attractions and a newly emerging leisure scene. Here are ten facts about Bradford that you might also find surprising.

Bradford is:

  1. Officially Britain’s ‘curry capital’

Bradford has been named Curry Capital of Britain for five years running, annually soaking up praise for its fine curry restaurants.

  1. Home to the biggest water fountain in the country

Bradford City Park was conceived as part of the 2003 masterplan to regenerate the city centre. A large public space right in the centre of the city, the park is very near the Grade 1 listed Bradford City Hall, and its main feature is a mirror pool containing the highest fountain in any British city.

  1. Home to the largest former industrial building in the world

Salts Mills was designed by Lockwood and Mawson for Sir Titus Salt in 1853. Today it’s a shopping centre, art gallery and restaurant complex and houses many paintings by local artist David Hockney.

The former textile mill was the largest industrial building in the world when it was built and didn’t close its doors as a manufacturer until 1986. Entrepreneur Jonathan Silver bought it a year later and turned it into a retail, cultural and business centre.

  1. Experiencing a large population boom

Excluding London, figures show that Bradford is currently undergoing the biggest population growth in the UK. The city also has the largest proportion of under-fives and under 19-year olds, and the largest average household size.

Between 2001 and 2011 when the last censuses were taken, the overall population grew by 11% to 470,800. The next census is due in 2021 and is expected to show a massive increase in general population.

  1. Home to the oldest concert hall still in use in the UK

St George’s Hall opened on 29 August 1853 and it’s still going. Not only is it the oldest in the UK, but also the third oldest in the whole continent. Originally designed for a capacity of 3,500, it now seats 1,500 and was financed by German Jewish wool merchants who moved to Bradford for its textile industry. It was temporarily closed in 2016 for an £8.5 million restoration project and is due to reopen later this year.

  1. Also home to the Alhambra Palace theatre

Right in the centre of Bradford, the Alhambra is much loved within the theatre community. Built in 1913 at a cost of £20,000 as the project of a local impresario, Francis Laidler, it opened on 18 March 1914. Over the last century it has welcomed many big names, including Laurel and Hardy, Morcambe & Wise, Peter Sellers and Rik Mayall onto its stage and was awarded Grade II listed status in 1974.

It’s one of the finest theatres in England, and now hosts large-scale touring theatre companies of all kinds to an audience of up to 1,456.

  1. Known as the former ‘King of Wool’

The 19th century was a golden time for Bradford, when it rose to prominence as an international centre for quality textile manufacture and, in particular, wool. It was a classic boomtown of the Industrial Revolution years and quickly became the wool capital of the entire world.

As the wool and textile manufacturing grew, so did the population and investment in the city. You can still see it today in the architecture of Bradford City Hall. In more recent times, the textile manufacture has moved abroad but the city’s rich past can be seen in its landmarks, including Salts Mill and Manningham Mills.

  1. The ‘City of Film’

In 2009, Bradford roundly beat Cannes, Venice and LA to be named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. Bradford was awarded the title for its long association with filmmaking, going back to the very start of cinema. Today, Bradford hosts a number of high-profile and internationally recognised film festivals and film related events.

  1. Bursting with entrepreneurial spirit

Bradford has a young and dynamic workforce, and a host of creative entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the unique culture and global business links in the city. There is a high level of self-employment and business start-ups. The fact that it’s the youngest city in the UK, with almost a quarter of its population under 16 years old, suggests that this youthful spirit will continue to revitalise the city going forward.

  1. Home to major company headquarters

In Bradford and the surrounding district, a number of major companies have their headquarters, including Yorkshire Building Society, Morrisons, Provident Financial, Hallmark Cards, Arris (Pace) and Yorkshire Water. More than 40 large companies have their headquarters in the district and employ more than 370,000 with a combined turnover of around £30 billion.

Aspen Woolf on the recent boost in offplan sales in Dubai

Foreign investment in Dubai property has seen record levels in 2017.

During the last week in May, a seven-day selling spree gave Dubai its best monthly offplan sales in 2018 so far.

According to data from GCP-Reidin, the overall offplan sales during May came to 1,830 units against the previous best number of 1,752 units racked up in January.

Combined value

Collectively, the May offplan deals were worth Dh2.28 billion. This beat April’s combined total of Dh2.05 billion and 1,461 units, despite the widespread assumption that this was the peak.

Usually sales would decrease during Ramadan and continue to do during the summer. However, it seems 2018 will buck this trend.

Seven City success

Much of the high number of sales is down to a developer called Seven Tides, who released 661 units at its high-rise project located in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). This development is called ‘Seven City’ and all 661 units were bough over a span of seven days.

In total, the developer took bookings worth Dh300 million and is now gearing up to release another job lot of units at Seven Tides at some point in the future. The CEO of the developer said that… “if you offer investors a compelling proposition, based on ROI (return on investment), location and quality, they will invest irrespective of overall market sentiment and that is essentially, our three-pronged marketing strategy.”

A studio apartment at the development went for Dh354,000, while one-bed apartments went for Dh683,000.

Ready available properties

For properties that are ready and available in the secondary market, overall demand is steady. In May there were 1,028 of these sold, compared with 986 in April and 1,121 in March 2018.
There is a steady allocation of funds to this secondary market, which is something that offplan developers need to keep an eye on. It’s difficult to know how much unsold inventory is backed up from previous offplan launches, as not every developer makes this information available.

Most successful locations

The locations that did well in the May offplan sales are as follows. JLT drew a lot of offplan investor interest in May, but there were also increases for the Medan master-development MBR City. This ended up with total sales of 314 units.

Developers including Azizi and Sobha have launched focussed and sustained campaigns surrounding MBR City. Added to this, steady progress on the Meydan One Mall is also interesting investors.

After Meydan, Jumeirah Village Circle sold156 units, the Downtown sold 119 and Dubai Marina sold 118. In the ready property space sector, Dubai Marina did the best with 170 deals sewn up in May 2018.

Aspen Woolf looks at whether Bradford could become the Shoreditch of Yorkshire

Bradford is growing quick although prices are still quite low.

With so many north western cities and towns undergoing a revival, with government support and mass-redevelopment, could it be Bradford’s turn for the same?

There are undeniably high levels of unemployment in Bradford, and some have dubbed it the most struggling city in Britain. But there is a movement to turn all of this around and kickstart its revival as a creative, thriving city with much to offer.

Creating alternative Bradford

Today, Bradford is no longer home to mills and mansions, as it was in Victorian times. Around 30% of adults in the city are out of work, and 40% of the wards are among the poorest in the country. While it does have the UK’s youngest population, it also has high levels of child poverty. Bradford is actually larger than Newcastle and wants to shrug off its reputation as the country’s most struggling city.

The CEO of Bradford Council, Kersten England, is very much behind this as she aims to ‘make Bradford the Shoreditch of Yorkshire’. However, Bradford is not asking for subsidies from London, nor is it competing with the recent boom in places like Leeds and Liverpool, instead there is a movement to revive an ‘alternative Bradford’.

Sunbridgewells success

While it seems an uphill struggle in some ways, there is definite hope for the future. At the moment, around 90% of property in the very centre of the city is apparently vacant. But there are many signs of life and progress.

In among a warren of old storage tunnels and caves there’s an area called Sunbridgewells. A local developer has invested £2 million in gin bars, craft beer pubs, food outlets and music venues and it’s seen as ground zero of the ‘creative hub’ of the city.

As with Shoreditch in London, when it became a hipster paradise, it’s hoped that people will begin flocking to Sunbridgewells. Nearby is the Assembly warehouse, a creative space for freelance publishers and designers. Run by David Craig, who reckons the space costs a fifth of what it would in Leeds, the Assembly is home to a few creative companies that have a passion for regenerating the city.

Another voice behind the new Bradford is architect Amir Hussain, who wants to persuade third generation Asians to move to the centre of the city and help to revitalise it.

Past town planning

There are generations of poor town planning behind Bradford’s current state. In the 1980s, the Victorian buildings were destroyed, and during a misguided rescue attempt in 2003, post-modern architect created what he called ‘dispersed centre’.

The council then added a massive shopping mall called Broadway, which took business away from any other retail outlets in the city. Today, there is a strong determination to restore Bradford back to its best, but with a different slant.

They aim to make central Bradford a place where people want to live and work, rather than a place from which people try to escape. This will take a massive effort as the city faces cuts of 40% to its budget over the last decade. Bright spots include the City Park, which cost more than £20 million, the relaunch of the Art Deco Odeon cinema and the annual literary festival.

Following examples

However, arts festivals and music venues don’t tend to draw residents, which is what is needed. The people behind the regeneration of Bradford aim to bring life back to the city. It’s been done before all around the world. In NYC, Manhattan’s Greenwich Village came back from the dead, as did Shoreditch in London and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

They did it by taking enterprise and activity from nearby cities and regions. By attracting designers, writers and artists into some of the derelict buildings, others will also arrive. Today, Bradford looks to attract the digital entrepreneurs that are spearheading regeneration across the north. It will be exciting to see it happen.

What are the benefits of buying new in the Northwest?

Liverpool waterfront

Whether you choose to invest in new builds or buy something more established, Leeds and the wider Northwest region offers a wide range of choice. From mansions just selling for just under £1 million to 1 beds going for around £35,000, it’s easy to see why this region is becoming more popular to property investors and first-time buyers alike.

The choice between a new build or established property is often down to personal circumstances and subjective tastes, but there are some reasons why new can be to your advantage.

Strict regulations

Over recent years, building regulations have become increasingly strict. New builds are built to a high spec with a ten-year guarantee. This gives an obvious advantage over an older property in terms of potential repairs and upkeep. With brand new fittings and features, a new-build property means there’s less need to make allowances for the potential cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance. Whether you’re looking to invest as a landlord or as a first-time buyer, this can make a huge difference in terms of what you can afford.

This is a good choice for investors looking to build up their buy-to-let property. By investing in new-builds in Leeds they are taking advantage of a city that is very much on the rise. The government’s Northern Powerhouse scheme has meant it’s front and centre in terms of investment and regeneration.

An increasingly popular choice for investors looking to boost their portfolio, cities such as Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester are offering more diverse options that in London and the South East. They’re also offering strong ROI and rising, rather than falling, property prices.

Energy efficiency

Even if an older property has been lovingly restored, it’s almost impossible for them to compete with the energy efficiency built in to new properties. Modern building methods have been developed to prevent damp, while double glazed window units, improved insulation and cavity walls provide energy savings on a long-term basis.

Heating systems are always improving and will significantly reduce monthly outgoings when compared with an older property. If you are investing in a buy-to-let property, then it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s safe and fit for purpose. From April this year, it has become illegal to rent out a house with an energy efficiency (EPC) rating of F and G – the lowest possible ratings.

Modern living

New builds are designed with modern living in mind. They tend to have smaller rooms, less floorspace by square foot and be of simpler design than more established properties. While this can come down to personal taste, for investors, new builds offer the best of both worlds.

Property developers look to minimise wasted space in new builds, ensuring they’re as efficient as possible. This has a knock-on effect on monthly outgoings as energy is saved and costs are as low as possible. And, as they’re designed for modern family life, there are always people ready to rent. Investing in judiciously placed new builds in the Northwest of England this year guarantees a steady ROI and hassle-free management.

Flexible options

While there can be a premium attached to buying a new-build property, so that they can cost more than a comparable older property, there are often more flexible buying options. First-time buyers may be able to take advantage of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, for example. As this only needs a 5% deposit, it opens the door to new home owners. Older properties often need a higher deposit and you’ll likely need more funds for alterations.

Buying off-plan also allows people to plan their move with more confidence. When buying an older property there is a huge amount of uncertainty concerning the seller and other people in a buying chain. This uncertainty can last right up to exchange and is the cause of a lot of stress. Buying a property off-plan removes all this uncertainty.

Buying property in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford or other cities in Northwest is fast becoming the option of choice for savvy investors. Both new-build and established properties offer advantages that just don’t exist in London and the South East currently.