Bradford is the UK’s most improved city!

A recent study by top accountancy firm PWC and leading cross party think tank Demos, have named Bradford as the most improved city in the UK.

PWC’s Good Growth for Cities report aims to create an index for good growth in the UK by taking into account a range of factors considered important to the general public, including jobs, income, skills and health were most important factors in the eyes of the public, alongside housing, transport, income distribution, work-life balance, business start-ups and the environment.

Now covering over a decade of data, the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index measures the performance of a range of the largest UK cities, as well as Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and Combined Authorities in England, against a basket of ten indicators based on what the public find most important when they think about the ‘work and money’ side of their lives.

Of the 42 cities listed in the index, Bradford comes top when ranked in terms of most improved, with an index improvement of 0.14. This is especially impressive considering that this year’s report has seen a higher number of cities’ scores decline when compared to previous years.

Why has Bradford improved so much compared to other UK cities? Data from the report indicates that the West Yorkshire city has experienced a significant reduction in its unemployment rate, measured at 4.1% in 2018 compared to 10.0% in 2015 – representing the largest improvement in the jobs score of any city in the index over this period.

Have a look at the Top 10 most improved cities according to the PWC report:

1. Bradford
2. Liverpool
3. Norwich
4. Newcastle
5. Cardiff
6. Swansea
7. Wolverhampton & Warsall
8. Brighton
9. Hull
10. Manchester

You will notice that not only does Bradford top the list but it outranks some big hitters, like Liverpool, Newcastle and Liverpool. This positive finding from PWC and Demos, paired with Bradford’s bid to become UK city of culture in 2025 really goes to show how forward thinking this once neglected city has become.

Here at Aspen Woolf, we have identified Bradford as a prime investment location thanks to excellent prices, high yields and strong growth potential. Have a look at our range of investment options.

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.

7 Reasons To Invest In Bradford Buy To Let

Invest In Bradford Buy To Let Aspen Woolf

When deciding to purchase buy to let properties, Bradford may not be one of the first locations that springs to mind. However it is a city on the rise that holds a lot of potential for investors. Here are the top 7 reasons why buy to let in Bradford is a good idea.

Low costs, high yields

First and foremost, investment in Bradford comes at a fraction of the cost of many other UK towns and cities. According to data from Zoopla, the average cost of a flat in Bradford is £109,841 and £102,856 for a terraced house. Compared to the UK average of £297,053 and £254,347 respectively, Bradford offers great value for money.

Once the property is filled there is the potential for returns of over 10% – some of the best in the UK. The next six reasons will explain why. 

The demographic

Bradford has the youngest UK population, with 30% of residents being under the age of 20. This is a huge advantage to investors; the young demographic will consist of people who are yet to get their feet on the property ladder so are in need of rental accommodation. It also means that student accommodation is highly sought after for the local university and colleges, including for the growing number of international students who are choosing the city.

A university city

Bradford University is good news for investors, since it frequently appears in the ‘top 10’ lists for places to study in the UK and attracts people to the area. In 2018-2019 there were a total of 8564 students enrolled, with a mixture of undergraduate, postgraduate and international students included in that number. The University is also a big employer, with 1499 members of staff employed across the various departments last academic year and the level of skill acquired by residents is rising, resulting in a diverse population of young professionals creating demand for property.

The annual influx of students is good news for buy-to-let investors as it means there is a constant stream of potential renters to fill your properties with. As is the case with Bradford, university towns offer great returns thanks to the myriad of other investment opportunities that they attract.

Business growth

Business is booming in Bradford. In 2017, it won the title of the best city in the UK for business start ups, based on a range of measures including infrastructure, commercial rents, business survival rate and net migration to the city. However it isn’t just small or new businesses that benefit from what Bradford has to offer. Morrison’s supermarkets, Hallmark Cards UK and Yorkshire Building Society are amongst the many names that have their headquarters in the city and large retailers such as Next and Marks and Spencer have got a significant warehouse presence. Big, established employers such as those mentioned are good for encouraging economic migration.

7 Reasons To Invest In Bradford Buy To Let Aspen Woolf

Great transport links

Thanks to a great infrastructure network in the surrounding area, property in Bradford is of great interest to commuters. Leeds is twenty-four minutes away by train and Manchester is reachable in around an hour, both lines accessible from the Bradford Interchange. There are also a variety of coach and bus services available from the same place, making connectivity a problem of the past. And for those wanting to travel further afield, flights leaving from nearby Leeds Bradford Airport can take you all over Europe. The pool of potential tenants is far wider than you may first think.

History and culture

Bradford has an interesting history, that is reflected in the diverse range of architecture throughout the city. The Townscape Heritage Scheme is spending £2million on the restoration and protection of historic buildings, which should encourage further investment in the area. This will raise the desirability of property in the area, which is always a good thing for investors. 

In celebration of the diversity and multicultural population, Bradford has launched a bid to become the 2025 UK City of Culture. This comes amidst a £1.4million cultural investment that will improve cultural engagement and promote the positives of a diverse demographic. Bradford has already had the honour of being the first UNESCO City of Film, in recognition of a rich media heritage. Bradford is regularly used as a filming location for film and television and there is a vast program of events and festivals to engage the public, creating many new jobs whilst shining a spotlight on the city. 

Regeneration plans

Bradford is undergoing a huge program of regeneration that has attracted a wealth of local authority and external investment. 

By 2021 the One City Park development will be providing a vast amount of high-quality office space. Facing the historic Town Hall and surrounded by hospitality establishments, it will sit perfectly at the centre of the new Business Quarter. Plans for a new Public Services Hub will bring a variety of services under one roof, accommodating up to 3500 members of staff and making it easier for local residents to access services. 

Moving out of the city centre, the Odsal Retail Development will create a retail and leisure gateway space in close proximity to the rugby stadium. The proposed site of 16.8 acres will make it a significant addition to the region’s retail profile. The M62 Corridor development includes nine separate sites with great potential for manufacturing and logistics usage that will see the creation of an impressive number of employment opportunities.

Exciting new proposals and expanding opportunities will welcome a fresh cohort of potential tenants to the area, whilst encouraging local residents to stick around and enjoy what Bradford has to offer. With ongoing growth and more on the horizon, Bradford is the ideal place to grow a buy to let portfolio. Contact the team at Aspen Woolf to see what opportunities we have available in Bradford or elsewhere, whether you are building your portfolio or investing in property for the first time.


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 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.

Updated for 2020 – A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford

If you’re reading this you’re probably aware that property can be a great investment vehicle, bringing diversification to an investment portfolio, providing a stable income and shielding money from inflation. Even if you know all of this, you are going to be faced with one looming question: Where do I invest?

While many investors opt for investing in their local area, those with a little more ambition recognise the importance of investigating all of the options, whether they are near or far from home.

In this guide we’re going to explore a city in one of the most exciting regions of the United Kingdom – a region expected by experts Savills to see 21.6% capital growth over the next 5 years. We’re going to tell you the best reasons for investing in the Yorkshire city of Bradford.

Bradford at a glance

Situated in the foothills of the Pennines, Bradford forms part of the West Yorkshire Urban Area, the United Kingdom’s fourth largest urban area – and contains a population of over 530,000. The city enjoys a location just 16 miles from Leeds, and possesses extremely good links to the rest of the major northern cities, as well as easy access to the M1 motorway.

Steeped in heritage and culture, Bradford offers residents a selection of architectural delights, from the old industrial quarter of Little Germany to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire – a wonderfully preserved Victorian village. Bradford is also the first ever UNESCO City of Film in the world, proving this city not only has a cultural past, but a cultural future too.

Many people relocate to Bradford because of the ease at which it’s possible to escape to some of the most spectacular countryside in Britain. The northern tip of the world famous Peak District National Park is only a 40 minute drive away and the Yorkshire Dales National Park can be accessed in around about the same time as well.

Clearly there is an appeal to this West Yorkshire post-industrial town for residents, but with all that said, let’s gets down business on why investors should choose Bradford.


Updated for 2020 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – economy

Bradford’s economy

Bradford’s economy is one of the strongest in the region. Valued at £9.5bn, it is the eighth largest in England and the third largest in the Yorkshire region after Leeds and Sheffield. This figure is proof that a city once struggling after the de-industrialisation of the north is now bouncing back to take its place as one of the major players in what many have dubbed the “Northern Powerhouse.” This year, Bradford’s economy is expected to have grown by around 25% over the last decade and will contribute 15.4% of the total growth within the Leeds City Region.

As of 2018, Bradford was home to 15,430 enterprises and 18,060 local units, employing 185,500 people, added to which there are more than 32,000 self-employed individuals.

The city’s own plan is to focus on four areas of development to encourage Bradford to become the fastest growing economy in the UK:

  • Education and skills development for young people
  • Using cultural assets to attract investment
  • Building on our business to drive innovation, increase productivity and create wealth.
  • Improving connectivity through a comprehensive transport infrastructure and digital connection

These initiatives are aiming to increase the value of the local economy by £4 billion, moving 20,000 more people into work and improving the skills of 48,000 residents.

One of the key drivers in Bradford’s resurfacing from its industrial past is its growing appeal to financial companies such as Santander UK, the Yorkshire Building Society and Provident Financial, with the latter being one of Bradford’s biggest employers. Household names like Morrisons and the region’s water utility, Yorkshire Water, have head offices in the city as well as Hallmark Cards and Seabrook Potato Crisps.

Partially thanks to being recognised by UNESCO twice, as well as developing a growing imprint on the British cultural landscape, Bradford’s economy also benefits largely from the tourist industry. Around 9.2 million people come to Bradford each year, and as the city’s reputation grows, so too will the visitor numbers and the city’s tourist economy. At present, 91 per cent of all visitors are domestic, but this figure could change as the city’s reputation spreads across the wider world.

All in all, if you’re interested in the economy of where you’re investing then this information should attract your attention. The local economy is one of the best reasons to invest in Bradford.


Updated for 2020 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – regeneration


Regeneration and investment in Bradford

When we wrote a guide about investing in Bradford back in 2016, we spoke about how over £500 million was invested in the city centre with an additional £200 million being placed into the wider district. Additionally, the Westfield shopping and leisure complex, called The Broadway, introduced eighty-two new stores to fill the 570,000 sq ft of retail space and over create over 2,000 jobs.

Now in 2020 we can talk about a £75 million investment to attract the so called ‘urban entrepreneurs’ of the future. Here’s a breakdown of the projects:

  • £12m on redeveloping the Odeon cinema.
  • £9.4m relocation of Bradford’s markets
  • £3m Top of Town redevelopment scheme
  • £8.9m restoration of St George’s Hall
  • £25.3m on the One City Park site to create grade A office space

The £3m Top of Town redevelopment mentioned above is of particular interest, being a sustainable development of a ‘city village’, comprised of around 1,000 new homes.

All of this regeneration and the efforts to bring Bradford in line with the Northern Powerhouse initiative has prompted some to compare the city to London’s tech and business district, Shoreditch. Whatever the end result of all the capital flooding into the area, Bradford is set reach never before seen levels of economic output.


Updated for 2020 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – transport and connectivity


HS2 and Bradford’s transportation links

Transportation in Bradford is a big deal, thanks to not one but two major projects you may have heard of: HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. If you’re reading this from outside the UK you might not be aware of the much anticipated High Speed Rail 2 network (HS2). This extremely expensive infrastructure project (estimated at £307m per mile), was confirmed to go ahead in full in February this year, and will connect 25 stations and 30 million people across the country.

The core of HS2’s mission is to increase connectivity from northern and midland towns and cities to London and the south, while slashing journey times. Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) is a separate initiative running across northern England (rather than north to south) to create better connections between the major cities in the north. The combination of the two projects means that Bradford will be more connected than ever before. The city is due to be part of the NPR project which will connect it to those stations on the HS2 line.

These rail projects are set to drive growth in the UK by an estimated £92 billion, with Bradford receiving a boost of £15 billion by 2060. It should go without saying that connectivity generates wealth, and the knock on effect of this is an increase in house prices. We will come on to house prices a little further on in this guide, but while we’re talking about HS2 and NPR, we’ll mention what has been dubbed the “HS2 effect“: booming house prices for all areas around the HS2 stations. We expect the cities on the NPR to benefit from a similar phenomenon given the link between the two lines.

Aside from the excitement of HS2 and NPR, Bradford has all of the standard transportation links that one would expect from a city of its size, and enjoys good connections with the other major northern cities in the region. Neighbouring Leeds provides Bradford with a local international airport (just six miles to the east), and Manchester Airport is only an hour’s drive away, which gives residents easy access to the country’s third largest airport.

Bradford is also well served by the road network, with the M606 spur connecting to the M62. Entry to the M1 is straightforward and provides those who wish to travel south or north an easy way to do so. The M62 itself, which runs to the south of the city, creates a link to Hull and Leeds in the east, and Liverpool and Manchester in the west. Bradford is also served by a number of trunk roads, giving access to local towns and cities such as Queensbury, Wakefield, Halifax, Harrogate, Leeds and Keighley.

Bradford Interchange combines rail, bus and coach services and has a passenger footfall just short of 3 million people per annum. The station operates regular services locally and also links the city to London’s King’s Cross station. Bradford Forster Square – a mere 10-minute walk away from the Interchange – also connects with London’s King’s Cross.


Updated for 2020 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – local life

Life in Bradford

When investing in property you want to make sure you are putting your money into an area that people want to live in. Culture, infrastructure and amenities attract residents and provide a high quality of living. Bradford offers all of this, and has been recognised for doing so. A recent study by top accountancy firm PWC and leading cross party think tank Demos has named Bradford as the most improved city in the UK.

PWC’s Good Growth for Cities report aims to create an index for good growth in the UK by taking into account a range of factors considered important to the general public, including jobs, income, skills and health were most important factors in the eyes of the public, alongside housing, transport, income distribution, work-life balance, business start-ups and the environment.

Now covering over a decade of data, the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index measures the performance of a range of the largest UK cities, as well as Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and Combined Authorities in England, against a basket of ten indicators based on what the public find most important when they think about the ‘work and money’ side of their lives.

Of the 42 cities listed in the index, Bradford comes top when ranked in terms of most improved. This is especially impressive considering that this year’s report has seen a higher number of cities’ scores decline when compared to previous years.

Moving on to history and culture, Bradford has a long and rich past reflected in the architecture, especially in the ever popular Little Germany area. This part of Bradford is full of wonderful Victorian buildings and named after the German merchants who came to the city in the late 1850s. Another UNESCO recognised part of Bradford is Saltaire, a World Heritage Site model village that also boasts incredible architecture and a wealth of independent restaurants and shops. Salt Mills also sits within the site, home to one of the greatest collections of work by the artist David Hockney. As mentioned earlier, the UNESCO City of Film status further cements the city’s reputation as a culturally important location.

In fact, Bradford’s local government is so confident of the city’s cultural prowess that they have put together a bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025. A number of  key cultural institutions have come together to form the Cultural Place Partnership which will drive the bid forwards as they contest against the likes of Chelmsford, Luton, Medway, Northampton, Southampton and Tees Valley.

The bid forms part of the overall Economic Strategy which aims to make Bradford the UK’s fastest growing economy over the coming decade, increasing the value of the economy by £4 billion.

Winning the bid would be massive for Bradford; such a strong cultural heritage and commitment to the arts means the city’s bid is very strong indeed.

With a mix of families, cosmopolitan workers and university students, the population numbers 530,000. The city houses the youngest population in the UK outside of London, creating a demand for student accommodation and homes for young professionals.

Adapting to the demands of a young population, the city is a vibrant hub with a strong of nightlife and cultural and social experiences. Live music can be found at places such as The Live Room and Disco Joe’s. As with any other British city, pubs and clubs are easily found and there are also plenty of upmarket bars on offer too. There is a range of art galleries and museums in the area too for those that like the slower paced cultural activities.

Opportunities for eating out are plentiful too. Dubbed the Curry Capital of Britain, Bradford naturally has a wealth of Asian eateries, but the range of cuisines on offer doesn’t stop there. Every taste is catered for, and the local craft beer scene is becoming an attraction in its own right, with the region currently home to 96 microbreweries – the highest concentration in the country.

Those who enjoy a little retail therapy are spoilt for choice thanks to the Westfield Broadway shopping centre. The £260 million mall brings houses a host of retailers, adding to the existing Kirkgate Centre, Oastler Shopping Centre and Forster Square Shopping Park.


Updated for 2020 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – housing

House prices and yields

Bradford offers exceptional value for money with house prices being some of the least expensive in the country, priced at 5.6 times the national average salary, compared to 7 times for the UK average house price. Industry experts Savills name Yorkshire as one of the UK’s top locations for predicted capital growth, forecasting a huge 21.6% uplift in growth over the next five years alone. Investing in Bradford means get in to the investor market at low prices right in time for excellent growth.

Rental yields outperform the national average and in some cases significantly.

The city centre is where you want to invest. The Little Germany postcode, BD1, can attract rental yields of 9.7% which makes it one of the top performing postcodes in the UK. Other BD postcodes yield on average 4.2%.

With the growing development of the Northern Powerhouse, the city looks set for a continued period of growth, making now a great time to consider investing in Bradford.


Updated for 2020 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Top reasons for investing in Bradford

So why invest in Bradford?

We believe that Bradford is one of the most upcoming areas in the United Kingdom, and the work that is being done by both the local government and outside investors reflects our sentiments. We have already gone over the regeneration projects in operation throughout the city and believe that all of these initiatives will stand Bradford in good stead as we move into 2020.

Property prices are extremely attractive in the city, with averages working out to be much lower than other parts of the UK. This presents investors with a unique opportunity to take advantage of some extraordinarily good deals in the area, generating rental yields of up to 9%.
The arrival of the Northern Powerhouse Rail and nearby HS2 is nothing short of revolutionary for Bradford, and by creating a network that connects major locations in the UK, Bradford will be brought in line with the other Northern Powerhouse cities.

The city’s close proximity to Leeds is also of benefit to anyone looking to invest in property, as Bradford is now being viewed as a viable alternative for those who need to commute into the neighbouring city’s fast expanding financial district. These young professionals will also take heart from the fact that Bradford has some great schools and an abundance of amazing countryside right on their doorstep.

It’s certainly worth remembering that the population is the youngest in the country as large proportion are residents and young professionals. As we discussed earlier, this creates a demand ready for investors to capitalise on.

So, if you are looking to move into the property market, we strongly advise you to do nothing until you have explored all that Bradford has to offer. This is a British city that is still offering fantastic value to anyone who wishes to either begin or expand their own property portfolio.

Here at Aspen Woolf, we have a choice of properties ready for your investment. Why not have a look at our Bradford options.