Masterplan Makes Bolton Booming For Property Investors

Bolton Property Investment Booming Fireworks

In 2017, 88% of readers of the Bolton News voted that Bolton was in need of a town centre transformation. The Masterplan that is currently underway will not disappoint them. Stretched across five main sites, the planners truly have thought of everything and managed to come up with something for everyone. With a growing university, a wealth of cultural and historical offerings and being well positioned to benefit from the under-construction HS2 railway, Bolton has a serious amount of untapped potential that is about to be addressed, and investors looking for the next big thing should consider property investment in Bolton

The Masterplan hopes to attract families, professionals and students to the area and has provided a number of zones geared towards each demographic, but with an impressive focus on connectivity making it easy for people to move around within the town. Let’s take a look at the main areas of development:

Trinity Quarter

The jewel in the crown of the masterplan is the Trinity Quarter development. Being touted as the new gateway to the city, this will see the creation of three distinct zones arranged in squares and linked together for easy navigation. 

Creating 30,000sq ft of office space aims to attract new and existing businesses to the commercial zone. The residential zone will house 150 new apartments, providing a perfect spot for accommodation for young professionals and commuters seeking to take advantage of the brilliant transport interchange. The mixed use zone will include a multi-storey car park and provide a direct link to the services offered by the new travel interchange that is already open and serving locals and visitors. Within the interchange people can access the train, bus facilities and take advantage of a substantial amount of bike storage. 

£45million has been set aside for this element of the regeneration project and the initial drawings look like it will be worth every penny.

Cheadle Square

Cheadle Square is the home of many cultural and historical attractions, in the heart of Bolton city centre. It will encompass the Town Hall, Bolton Museum, the Civic Centre and other architectural delights that are loved by visitors and residents alike. The site of the former bus station will be utilised, there will be new office and retail spaces and a new residential area will be sympathetically built to fit in and complement the existing buildings. 

The accommodation being built will include high-end housing and student accommodation for those studying at the nearby university. The University of Bolton aims to have 20,000 students on campus this year, adding to the vibrant local population and bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and ideas. There is a real focus within the university to produce highly skilled and employable graduates who can go on to contribute greatly to the local community and economy.

Masterplan Makes Bolton Booming For Property Investors Aspen Woolf

Crompton Place

Crompton Place is a shopping centre that will be receiving some well-needed attention to bring it up to the same high standard as the rest of the town. This particular part of the Masterplan project has caught the eye of many outside investors, with £250million already agreed in principle. There are plans to breathe life into the currently unused spaces by encouraging workshops and other community-centred uses, so that the existing buildings can be maximised where possible. 

The shopping centre was purchased by the council for £14.8m in June 2018 and its regeneration will be the first phase of the Bolton development overhaul. Following the running theme of connectivity and accessibility between the city centre spaces, Crompton Place will be linked to other key sites to increase footfall and drive success.

Church Wharf – riverside neighbourhood

The river Croal will be gaining a £150m new neighbourhood along its banks. The Church Wharf intervention site is currently underused and squandering its potential, making the plans for creating a buzzing new community even more exciting. It will be a residential-lead development with the potential for a variety of food and leisure offerings in a historical riverside location. 

Croal Valley

Church Wharf isn’t the only development happening along the river Croal; Croal Valley will see riverside apartments and townhouses overlooking stunning green spaces. Low density housing will populate the area to the west near Queen’s Park, building up to the water’s edge where the focus will be on apartments with an urban feel. It is set to offer a dynamic contribution to the masterplan’s 2000+ new homes. 

In addition to these major development areas, there are a number of other projects occurring on the periphery. In the town centre, the Octagon theatre is going to be revamped and improved. Currently bringing in over 70,000 visitors per year, the new plans will make it even more accessible and improve the amount of time and space available for community groups. When completed, the Octagon will help drive tourism in Bolton and be an on-going source of world-class arts and entertainment. The University also has plans to invest £35bn in improving their facilities so they can continue to compete for the attendance of talented young people. As a result of the current plans, there are now additional plans being created in other areas of Bolton.

The regeneration plans started with a £100m promise from the local authority and high hopes that it would attract £1bn of private investment. They have already surpassed this goal and are currently working with pledged figures of around £1.5bn, which may still rise. It was initially projected that Bolton Council’s spending plans would result in a boost of around £4.6bn and with investment pouring in it looks like they could also surpass this prediction. 

This series of projects will completely revolutionise the Bolton town centre experience, enticing more visitors to the region and creating a myriad of opportunities for residents and investors. If you’re looking to build a portfolio in an up-and-coming town then this could be the place for you – plans are set, the money is there, work is now getting underway. Thanks to this Masterplan, Bolton is booming. 

HS2 to Go Ahead in Full

Earlier this week (beginning February 10th) Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that HS2 will go ahead in full. This is big news for a multi-billion pound project that only a couple of weeks earlier looked destined for a write off. Albeit at an almost unreal cost (estimated at £307m per mile), HS2 is due to transform connectivity in the UK. Joining up with a separate project called Northern Powerhouse Rail, together these two infrastructure projects are set to revolutionise transport in the UK, especially in the north of England.

The ‘HS2 Effect’ is a term thrown around property investment circles referring to house price rises in those areas where HS2 is planned to pass through. For example, Birmingham saw a 14% house price rise in just two years according to Knight Frank. We’re expecting to see similar growth acceleration in other areas, particularly Leeds which is already set to benefit from projected 21.6% regional growth.

With that said, we’ve put together some essential information on the HS2 project in general.

So, what is HS2? Following the success of HS1 (better known as the Channel Tunnel rail link), HS2 (High Speed 2) is an ambitious and exciting project that will vastly improve connectivity throughout England. Rail-users will be able to traverse the country at speeds of up to 250mph, resulting in reduced travel times and more convenient routes. The first stage will see a direct service built between London and Birmingham, a journey that will drop from 1 hour 24 minutes to approximately 50 minutes, with estimated completion in 2026. This means that there is still time for property investors to get ahead of the market if they haven’t already, or become an early adopter for better returns.

After completion of phase one, the line will be extended further to reach Manchester (reducing the journey time from London to 1 hour and 8 minutes – a saving of one hour) and Leeds (with a new journey time of 1 hour 22 minutes from London – saving the traveler 50 minutes). This is planned to finish in 2032-33 and will link up with existing lines and railway improvements to spread its reach even further, including to Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. The proposed Northern Powerhouse rail will run between Liverpool and Hull, and the Midlands Engine proposals will go between Coventry and Bristol. By the time that the whole project is done, it is expected that almost half of the UK population will have access to HS2 services.

This improved access is expected to stimulate mobility across the country, taking the focus away from the South and helping to distribute the wealth away from the capital. With the cost of property and general living costs being inflated in the current commuter belt, people working in London are having to move further out to areas that they can afford and enduring daily commutes of two hours each way are not unusual. When the high-speed railway is up and running, this will drastically expand the number of desirable areas for working people and it will give people more choice about the places in which they live and work. There will be an increased demand for accommodation in the towns and cities along the route and young professionals make ideal tenants. Having easy access to more job markets could also serve to discourage people from getting on the property ladder, instead preferring to stick with the flexibility that renting brings. It is not uncommon to spend a few years in a place whilst deciding whether or not to put down more permanent roots, and when that happens there will be other tenants waiting to take their place.

Train travel should improve on the whole, even on lines that aren’t directly affected, since the new high speed tracks will relieve the pressure on some of the busiest routes. Despite projections of the railway removing 9 million journeys off the roads each year, it is still expected that the trains will be less crowded and more comfortable for passengers. This may prompt people to begin commuting when they have previously lived and worked locally, thus increasing the pool of potential renters.

Although they will make up the bulk of users, commuters are not the only reason the HS2 is good news for investors. The communities directly affected by the development are also experiencing a boost. It is estimated that there will be a total of 500,000 extra jobs created, including the construction workforce of 10,000 that are currently working across 250 locations to complete the first stage. Of this, there are approximately 2000 apprentices that are learning a valuable trade and the works have so far been delivered with involvement from 2000 businesses – 99% of which are UK based.  There will be a further 20,000 employed in the build and 3000 staff members to keep it running smoothly once it opens. The extra wealth created by the increased employment will benefit the local economy further; more good news for investors in the area.

It is estimated that every £1 that goes in to the HS2 project will see a return of £2.30. There are already vast regeneration schemes planned or underway in HS2 cities, with local councils intent on making the most of the opportunities that HS2 will bring. Projections state that 90,000 new homes will be built, with Leeds alone planning on doubling the size of their city centre through a mixture of residential, commercial and leisure. Not only are cities working on improving the more tired areas, they are also investing in the protection and enhancement of their cultural gems – such as the famous Liverpool docks which are facing exciting protective redevelopment. Many of these projects are anchored to the HS2 growth and have been attracting impressive levels of foreign investment. So whilst the HS2 may attract new residents, the ongoing improvements will ensure that those residents stay and make their homes there.

As demand is building, now is the ideal time for potential new investors to take the leap and be ready to cash in when the time comes. If you are an established property investor who already has a presence then you are well placed to reap the benefits so now is the time to sit back and let your investments do the work for you. Either way, property investors are set to cash in on the HS2 developments.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton

The student property market is an area that has been attracting investors for some time now, but many tend to overlook parts of the UK that are not commonly known as university cities or towns. This is a mistake, as there are some excellent opportunities to be had away from the likes of Oxford, London, Durham, and Cambridge.

Bolton is one such town. Despite only having one university within its boundaries, Bolton is still a viable option for those looking to invest in student property.

An overview of Bolton’s economy

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

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As with so many towns across the North West of England, Bolton’s heritage lies in industry. The former mill town has been associated with the textiles industry ever since the 14th century when Flemish weavers first settled in the area. As the industrial revolution took shape, Bolton was handily placed to make the most of the booming manufacturing age and the cotton mills were the main source of employment for local people.

At its height, Bolton had over 200 cotton mills in operation. However, the First World War spelt the beginning of the end for the British cotton industry and the amount of mills in operation began to decline until the cotton industry virtually ceased to exist in the 1980s.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: Pimlico Badger via Flickr

The traditional industries that once fuelled Bolton’s economy have now largely been replaced by more service-based sectors. While this has been the case for much of the North of England, Bolton has seemingly done rather well from the transition. Regarded as the fifth largest employment base in the northwest, the town is experiencing growth year-on-year and is a major player in the Manchester City Region.

The town’s location has a lot to do with its growing prosperity and the area has been able to attract household names such as AXA, Hitachi, RBS, and the grocery giant, Warburtons, to invest in it. Good road and rail networks and easy access to Manchester Airport mean that investment in the town is far from over either. Analysts predict that Bolton will see further investment over the coming 10 to 15 years that could run into the hundreds of millions, creating in excess of 10,000 jobs across a number of sectors in the process.

Location and transport

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

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As mentioned above, Bolton is in a great location. Situated just 10 miles northwest of Manchester, Bolton is ideal for those who need to commute to the city for either work or education. The town is served by both local buses and the National Express coach network as well as being part of the West Coast Mainline Manchester loop. This provides commuters with an easy 35-minute train journey to Manchester Piccadilly station.

The local road network is decent, too. Both local and national routes are well catered for with the A666 providing routes north and south. The southern end of the A-road is also a spur road for the M60/M61 motorway network.

Planned regeneration projects

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: Mikey via Flickr

Regeneration is often a good indicator of where a town or city is heading, and Bolton has been in the news of late for all the right reasons. Bolton town centre looks set for an overhaul, with the local council announcing that a £3 million regeneration project for the pedestrianized Newport Street is underway.

New paving, lighting, trees, and seating areas will transform the look of the walk-through, and shop frontages will also be spruced up in order to give the area a more consistent and uniform look. It is hoped that the work will give residents and visitors to Bolton town centre a ‘seamless, open route’ to the £48 million transport development that is taking place at the interchange from Victoria Square.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: Mikey via Flickr

The co-location of Bolton’s main bus and railway station is the centre of the £48 million transport interchange redevelopment that is taking shape in the town. Included in the plans is an impressive pedestrianized ‘skylink’ bridge, and the Newport Street overhaul is hoped to play a part in restyling the changing face of the town centre.

However, it doesn’t end there for Newport Street. A £6.5 million office development on the corner of Great Moor Street was also announced earlier this year. The 30,000 square ft. of Grade A office space is being built to complement its surroundings, and demand for the building is already said to be high. It is hoped that all work will be completed by the end of 2016.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: Steve Glover via Flickr

Bolton Council has also identified 11 areas of the town where urban regeneration needs to take place. They have put in place a Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy (NRS) that will run alongside the Council’s Community Strategy in order to create a better standard of living for residents in the nominated areas.

Working together with residents, it is hoped that the council will be able to bring the 11 areas up to the high standard that the rest of the town enjoys. This will prove to be beneficial to investors in Bolton in the long-term, as the overall regeneration project will help the town move forward towards an even brighter future than it is experiencing now.

Future housing developments

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

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Alongside the aforementioned office space in the town centre, there are a few housing projects of note taking place in and around Bolton too. Catering for the young professionals that are being attracted to the town by the ever-larger companies who are setting up shop there, these housing developments are sure to help existing property prices to rise.

Bolton Council’s core strategy for housing aims to distribute the amount of new homes built across the town by 2026. The percentages of new build properties per region are as follows:

  • Bolton town centre – 10 to 20%
  • Horwich Loco Works – 10 to 15%
  • Renewal areas – 35 to 45%
  • Outer areas – 20 to 30%

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

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The council has promised to operate a policy that concentrates on delivering quality property in locations where it is most needed. The Regional Spatial Strategy reported that there should be a minimum of 578 new homes built in Bolton each year up to 2021, with the recommendation that this figure continues on through to 2026.

The report also requests that a minimum of 80 per cent of all new build dwelling be constructed on Brownfield sites, which will make use of the towns many industrial areas that are now redundant.

Why invest in Bolton?

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

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As we have already touched upon, Bolton is an area that is currently being invested in by big businesses and the local council. Economic regeneration is fully underway across the whole of the Greater Manchester region and Bolton is seen as one of the guiding lights.

Both the public and private sectors have invested in excess of £1 billion over recent years and the trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. It is worth remembering that much of this growth and investment has taken place against the backdrop of the recession and decreased spending thanks to the austerity measures that have been put in place countrywide.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: Mikey via Flickr

The investment that has been made is starting to have a dramatic effect on the property market in Bolton. Yields are beginning to increase as the town flourishes and even the overspill from Manchester’s poor property supply is providing beneficial consequences for those who have property with a BL postcode.

Those looking for capital gains will also welcome the fact that Bolton has some of fastest rising house prices across England and Wales. Prices in Bolton are now 3.1% higher than they were a year ago and the town outperformed Manchester, which only saw a 2.5% increase, across the same period.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

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Getting in at the bottom of the market is naturally the most desirable point at which to enter, but that does come with an element of risk. Bolton, however, has already started to show some fantastic signs of growth in recent times so investors would be wise to give this northwest town far more than just a cursory glance.

Bolton’s educational facilities

As you are looking to invest in student property it stands to reason that you would want to know as much as possible about the further education that is on offer in Bolton. This town, however, differs from most, as it not only has its own university for which your property may be rented, but also the universities of the city of Manchester as well.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: UNH Manchester via Flickr

Property supply in Manchester is scarce and largely unaffordable for many struggling students and Bolton provides an attractive solution. That being said, Bolton’s only university does still have a number of students that will be looking for accommodation too, so you are presented with a number of options.

Property around the University of Bolton is in high demand from students looking for places to stay for the duration of their studies. The areas around Farnworth and Moses Gate railway stations are particularly attractive to students who need to travel into Manchester city centre.

The University of Bolton

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: University of Bolton via Flickr

Bolton’s only university is relatively new. It gained university status in 2004 and changed its name from the Bolton Institute of Higher Education to the University of Bolton after much deliberation over what should be its new moniker.

The primary campus is situated on a site that sits between Derby Street and Deane Road and the university currently has just over 9,000 students enrolling each year.

The university has been undergoing renovation and it recently unveiled a new University Technical College and a facility for Science and Engineering after winning a £10 million seal of approval for the new building from the government. Further expansion and renovation across the current campus is expected to continue through to 2017.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: University of Bolton via Flickr

Much of the university’s student population comes from the local area, but there is also a good head of students who enroll from outside of the UK too – the vast majority of which always require decent accommodation for the duration of their studies.

Student life in Bolton

Bolton offers a number of bars and clubs locally, but it is the close proximity to the nightlife offered by Manchester that is likely to widen the eye of the student. The big city is only 30 minutes away and the wealth of entertainment on offer there far surpasses that of Bolton itself.

A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Bolton Aspen Woolf

Photo Credit: University of Bolton via Flickr

For those who like to shop, the same applies. Manchester has a fantastic array of shopping options and the restaurant scene will keep even the most enthusiastic foodie happy too.

Sporting facilities are decent in Bolton with a number of gyms, leisure centres, and sports fields available to those who prefer to keep active.

Conclusion

Bolton is a town on the up, and it’s proximity to one of the UK’s largest cities, Manchester, is a huge benefit to those who wish to invest here. With house prices in Bolton having risen by more than 3% compared to last year, and money being spent in the northwest town, the future looks rosy for those looking to be a part of Bolton’s future.

Feature image credit: albert barker via Flickr.