91% of International Students Love the UK Best!

A recent study from Universities UK International has shown that 91% of students loved their UK university experience.

A highly impressive 91% of international students are satisfied with their UK university experience according to research from Universities UK International.

The findings are based on the feedback of 137,000 students from five other competitor nations – the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands – placing the UK at number one in the rankings.

For property investors, these results confirm how student accommodation remains a relatively safe bet. Due to the esteemed reputation of British educational institutions, as well as these positive surveys, foreign student numbers will always be high.

The UK’s Competitive Advantage 2017

91% of International Students Love the UK Best! Aspen Woolf

Universities UK International (UUKi) regularly carry out studies on a wide range of university issues. They use data from the International Student Barometer which collects information from over 3 million students across the world.

This year’s report – titled the UK’s Competitive Advantage – highlights various factors that measure student experience. These include: arrival and orientation, learning environment, living standards and support services. The UK ranked highest across these four areas, an impressive feat and clear indication as to why so many foreign students come here every year.

As a result, 86% of international undergraduates are very likely to recommend their current place of study, a figure higher than the other five nations in the survey.

Students also take university league tables into account. The latest Times Higher Education World University rankings shows the UK has the most places in the European top 10.

Property Advantage

91% of International Students Love the UK Best! Aspen Woolf

Student property investment has soared in the past decade, with Savills’ expecting another £5 billion injection over the next academic year. This is mainly being ploughed into purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) – a robust asset class that has experienced unparalleled growth.

This can be put down to a shift in student attitudes, especially in relation to international students. They prefer the private yet communal nature of PBSA, combined with a whole host of modern amenities and high-speed broadband connection.

Parents also appreciate the secure nature of private apartments as opposed to residential homes with multiple occupants (HMO’s). PBSA flats have three layers of security, making it extremely hard for intruders to break into the building, let alone an individual flat.

In addition, the EU Referendum result has created a devalued currency, something foreign students have been quick to take advantage of. An undervalued pound means lower tuition fees and living costs, thus making our PBSA flats more affordable.

Investment Opportunity

91% of International Students Love the UK Best! Aspen Woolf

The UK’s competitive advantage is dependent on the reputation and high quality of its universities. As the UUKi study shows, this is reflected with an extremely impressive foreign student satisfaction rate, placing the UK ahead of comparable nations.

A thriving social scene in notable university cities such as London, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds also plays its part, as well as a rich sporting and musical heritage that foreign students appreciate.

In turn, property investors can be assured their investment will always generate interest, especially as international students tend to choose purpose-built student accommodation. For more information on student investment at Aspen Woolf, please get in touch today.

You can take a look at our current PBSA investment opportunities here.

UK Scoops Most Places in European University Top 10

These university rankings echo the strong performance of UK student property as a whole, particularly the PBSA market.

The latest Higher Education World University rankings by the Times shows the UK has the most universities in the European top 10, as highlighted below:

Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017
European Rankings

RankingUniversityCountry
1University of OxfordUnited Kingdom
2University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
3Imperial College LondonUnited Kingdom
4Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerland
5University College LondonUnited Kingdom
6London School of Economics and Political ScienceUnited Kingdom
7University of EdinburghUnited Kingdom
8Karolinska InstituteSweden
9École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneSwitzerland
10LMU MunichGermany

 

The Times compiled the top 980 universities in its latest 2016-17 list, basing its report on “13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available”. The rankings are universally recognised by students, academics and governments, as well as being independently audited.

UK Scoops Most Places in European University Top 10 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: University of Exeter via Flickr

Student Numbers

If you’re interested in the student property market, these results should solidify your confidence in the sector. High-performing universities with a prestigious history and famous alumni will always attract students from the UK and abroad.

UCAS recently reported that around 493,000 students have been placed on courses in the current 2016/17 academic year – a record high. The enrolment of 18-year-olds in particular has stayed resilient, showing that increased fees hasn’t put off youngsters from a university education.

Despite Brexit and perceived fears of a drop in EU applicants, it should be made clear that more non-EU students still come to the UK than Europeans. In essence, numbers won’t be affected too greatly, especially as access to the Erasmus exchange programme will almost certainly continue.

Property Impact

UK Scoops Most Places in European University Top 10 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Vita Student via Flickr

An overfill of students who can’t find places in these top institutions will spill over into the UK’s other notable university cities, such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Plymouth.

Aspen Woolf has student buy-to-let properties in these areas, guaranteeing healthy yields of 7-10% over a sustained period.

Likewise, we’ve also recognised the strong performance of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), which is being favoured by undergrads, postgrads and international students alike. This is opposed to university halls of residence or a HMO (house with multiple occupiers) which are sometimes run-down, poorly maintained, and generally tend to be more inconvenient.

Studies show that the PBSA market has grown every year from 2007. This is in terms of investment as well as number of tenants. As student applications stay strong, the sector is less likely to be affected by wider economic affairs, making it a robust asset class.

Investment Opportunity

UK Scoops Most Places in European University Top 10 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: NEC Corporation of America via Flickr

The impressive European university rankings echo the strong performance of UK student property as a whole, particularly the PBSA market.

Students are now expecting a higher standard of living with en-suites, double beds and high-speed broadband connection. Our investment opportunities satisfy these demands thoroughly.

For investors, finding one of these particular properties puts you onto a winner, especially if located near to a university campus or transport links. Furthermore, when using Aspen Woolf, we’ll always have a management company in place for you and your investment so everything is taken care of on your behalf.

For more information, check out our student accommodation investment opportunities or get in touch.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the student accommodation market, you might enjoy Student Accommodation is the Ideal Investment in the Current Economy.

Student Accommodation is the Ideal Investment in the Current Economy

The UK student population is 2 million and they need somewhere to live.

With the UK set for political and economic uncertainty over the next few years, some commentators have predicted a period of stagnation for the property sector.

Although this remains to be seen and the market has held up well so far, one area that won’t be affected is student accommodation. This is because student investment is countercyclical in nature and less likely to be affected by the overall economy.

Students will always need somewhere to live, and if you can find a property in a favourable location, demand will hold up year-on-year. At Aspen Woolf, we offer a number of student properties for this exact reason.

Outstanding Performance

Student Accommodation is the Ideal Investment in the Current Economy Aspen Woolf

Throughout the current decade, student accommodation has outperformed traditional assets in the property sector. Although recent external pressures on buy-to-let may partially explain this, the main reason is due to the strong demand for purpose-built flats in prime student areas.

Traditionally, first year students have had to rely on university-sponsored halls when they enrol – these are usually older buildings with limited space and basic amenities. Now, it seems undergraduates prefer modernised, purpose-built flats when given the option.

A recent report by Knight Frank backed this up. It showed students are prepared to pay increased rents if the facilities impress them, and so with many new developments containing gyms, games rooms and individual car parking, finding tenants should be of little worry.

Student Accommodation is the Ideal Investment in the Current Economy Aspen Woolf

Even though many are being constructed in areas close to campus buildings, transport links and shops, there’s still a significant structural undersupply. It is here that individual investors can take advantage.

Yields are consistently high, helped by low-entry prices onto the market, with impressive occupancy rates. This isn’t a recent trend either, it has remained a resilient investment sector for many years now with no indication of slowing down.

In addition, rents are usually guaranteed by a parent and paid upfront. For investors, this provides great peace of mind knowing you’re assured both demand and rental income at the start of each term.

Positive Forecasts

Student Accommodation is the Ideal Investment in the Current Economy Aspen Woolf

Although the UK student population is roughly 2 million, there’s only enough private-sector accommodation to house a quarter of them. And despite increased university fees, applications don’t seem to be slowing down. It seems the student sector will remain a robust asset class for many years to come.

These positive forecasts are being recognised by wealthy foreign investors. Over 70% of new purchases are from private equity and high net-worth overseas buyers. Even if you can’t compete with this financial clout, as a private investor it pays to recognise their buying behaviour.

According to Knight Frank, the purpose-built student market is estimated to be worth around £46 billion, with a further £5 billion to be added in new developments this year. This shows that, despite the economic uncertainty around at the moment, one sector unaffected is student property.

At Aspen Woolf, we’ve recognised this trend and have sourced various student flats from hotspots across the UK. We’ll have management companies in place for the investment on your behalf, meaning all you need do is sit back and enjoy your assured rental yields of between 6-10%.

 

Take a look at our current student property investment offers today.

If you’re interested in investing in student accommodation, you may want to take a look at the Five Best Student Towns to Invest In.

Student Accommodation Sector Benefits from Soaring Foreign Investment

UK Student Accommodation Sector Benefits from Soaring Foreign Investment

Research by estate agent Savills shows that investment in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) has increased by 17% to over £5 billion this year. Confidence in the market remains high and any perceived fear over last year’s Referendum haven’t come to fruition.

Much of this recent investment is because of international backers who’ve increased their market share to 64% from just a third in 2015.

This in turn has helped the market grow significantly over the past two decades, with yields remaining stable throughout. In addition, rent increases of 3% per annum since 2014 surpassed all other real estate asset sectors, with potential for even more growth in the future.

Overall, the amount of private student accommodation remains well below student numbers in key UK university cities – something we’ve recognised at Aspen Woolf with a range of carefully selected student property at our disposal.

International Appeal

Interest from abroad has been the primary cause of large-scale investment in the PBSA market, with Asian financiers particularly active. For example, a massive £1.2bn came from two of Singapore’s leading real estate developers last year, fending off stiff competition from the US, Middle East and Russia.

This echoes what is happening throughout the sector as rival bidders often vouch for the same investment portfolio. Unsuccessful bidders retain a strong appetite to invest here however, and are expected to make more acquisitions throughout the 2017/18 academic year.

The student sector in the UK has remained a reliable asset class for many years now. Being ‘countercyclical’ in nature, it’s less likely to suffer from volatile markets or currency fluctuations. Shrewd international buyers therefore recognise it as a dependable hedge against other investments.

Student Accommodation Sector Benefits from Soaring Foreign Investment Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Duncan Hull via Flickr

Brexit

The EU referendum result didn’t do much to put off foreign investment, mainly because the supply and demand of student property will always hold up. UK universities are some of the most highly regarded learning institutions in the world after all, and keep attracting students from home and abroad every year.

The value of trade also backs this up. Since the Brexit result, more student real estate was purchased in the six months after June  23rd (£2.1bn) than in the six months before (£1.9bn).

Student Accommodation Sector Benefits from Soaring Foreign Investment Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Char via Flickr

Why the UK?

The student sector is ripe for investment for two main reasons – a constant volume of demand and a severe shortfall of suitable accommodation.

This is specifically related to purpose-built flats which students now tend to prefer, primarily as they offer a much more modern standard of living. Private student en-suite studios within communal buildings come with all-inclusive bills, high-speed internet and on-site facilities such as free parking, laundry rooms and even gyms or cinema rooms in some cases.

Conversely, traditional house sharing arrangements can leave students stuck in run-down, unsecured properties with untrustworthy landlords. By investing with Aspen Woolf, everything is managed so the tenant has far less to worry about in this respect.

For prospective investors, remember that undersupply in the sector will virtually guarantee enquiries, especially in prime areas near to a campus or transport links. University halls aren’t often upgraded to the modern standards of PBSA, meaning any new developments are snapped up quickly, especially by foreign students and postgraduates.

 

If you’re interested in investing in purpose-built student accommodation, get in touch today to see how we can help.

If you would like more information on investing in student accommodation, you might be interested in discovering why Student Properties Are a Safe Bet for 2017.

Student Properties Are a Safe Bet For 2017

Using a letting management agent means you don't have to deal with overwhelming demand from students.

Student accommodation blocks are now common sights in university towns and cities across the country. They’ve signified a move away from the traditional, tenement-type student digs, offering a sleek and secure way of living favoured by modern students.

Shrewd investors have been quick to spot their potential in recent years. They provide an attractive and often low-cost route onto the property ladder, with guaranteed enquiries year on year. Students will always need somewhere to live, particularly in areas close to their campus or local amenities.

In 2017, this demand will only grow as student numbers rise. Over 408,000 are currently on undergraduate courses, complemented by over 90,000 postgrads – an increase of 22 per cent from last year.

 

Purpose-Built Student Accommodation

Student Properties Are a Safe Bet For 2017 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Elliott Brown via Flickr

The number of students living in private sector purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) has increased sharply in recent years, making it one of the only property subdivisions to deliver positive rental growth every year since 2007.

Undergrads are increasingly looking towards more luxury accommodation in the modern era, preferring en-suite bedrooms, spacious common rooms and exclusive high speed Wi-Fi connection. Some developments even include games rooms and multi-gym facilities.

The market alone comprises assets worth over £40 billion, with the potential to rise even further over the next decade or so. Average rents have also risen in this time, generating around £150 per week.

 

Managed Lets

Student Properties Are a Safe Bet For 2017 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Francisco Osorio via Flickr

By placing the purchase in the hands of a professional lettings agent, all the usual hard work and hassle of managing the property is taken care of. For the student sector in particular, this knowhow is especially valuable as the turnover of tenants is relatively high.

For example, as a private investor, you may not be able to deal with a flood of enquiries towards the start of term time. Aspen Woolf will take care of this on your behalf, answering questions from prospective tenants and vetting them in the correct manner.

Students also trust this approach more, knowing they won’t be left stranded with an unreliable or uncontactable landlord if something goes wrong. Any maintenance issues will be dealt with by us, along with regular inspections and inventory stock-takes.

 

Location

Student Properties Are a Safe Bet For 2017 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Vita Student via Flickr

At Aspen Woolf, we only offer properties from the UK’s student hotspot’s such as Manchester, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Plymouth. This assures your investment won’t be wasted as tenant demand is guaranteed every year.

We also look for universities with a high percentage of international students. This is because they’re often drawn to the PBSA due to its secure and more luxurious nature. Liverpool and Edinburgh Universities, for example, boast around a 30 per cent foreign student intake.

Student property remains a safe bet in 2017, especially purpose-built student accommodation managed by a professional estate agent. You’re getting a hassle-free and relatively low-risk way onto the property ladder, with typical yields of 7% – 10% with no signs of slowing down.

You can take a look at our student accommodation opportunities here.

If you’d like to talk through potential investments or have any questions, get in touch.

Student Property Demand Rises in Liverpool

Purpose built student accommodation is becoming more and more popular.

With around 70,000 students in Liverpool during term time, it’s no surprise that demand for accommodation is high. And with the number of undergraduate placements rising from the 2015/16 academic year, there’s still need for high-quality housing within the city.

For investors, this means numerous opportunities are available in the thriving buy-to-let sector, especially for purpose-built student accommodation.

Increasing Numbers

Student Property Demand Rises in Liverpool Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Vita Student via Flickr

 

The University of Liverpool, John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University comprise around 60,000 students alone, an increase of around 10,000 from last year.

As well as the three main universities, there’s also the Institute for Performing Arts, School of Tropical Medicine and numerous other colleges within the city – pushing the total number of students up even further.

Research by the Mistoria Group shows that these figures have caused a 37% growth in demand for shared student accommodation within a three mile radius of the city centre.

Why Liverpool?

Student Property Demand Rises in Liverpool Aspen Woolf

Image credit: 7426_0594 via Flickr

Developers have been quick to recognise the rise in student numbers and short supply of bespoke housing in Liverpool. With demand for high-quality accommodation growing, a number of uber-modern student developments, such as the luxurious Fox Street Village and Queensland Place, have sprung up in recent years.

With a rich cultural and sporting heritage, combined with a diverse nightlife and affordable housing, Liverpool in itself will always attract high student numbers. With its higher education institutes offering a vast array of courses, there’s no sign of the trend slowing down.

As another bonus, an increasing number of students are remaining in Liverpool once they’ve graduated. This flow of young professionals boosts the rental sector even further, especially as renters with a career-driven mindset make for high-quality tenants.

Increased government investment in the ‘northern powerhouse’ is coinciding with massive regeneration schemes in Liverpool itself. As we move further into 2017, 250 major new schemes worth £10.5 billion are seeking planning approval or at early stages of project development.

Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)

Student Property Demand Rises in Liverpool Aspen Woolf

Image credit: NEC Corporation of America via Flickr

The 560,000 rooms that make up the UK’s PBSA market are estimated to be worth £46 billion in total. This is being helped as both students and universities move away from traditional halls of residence style accommodation.

Purpose-built halls cater to the demands of modern-day students, with private bathrooms, large common rooms, strong Wi-Fi connections and even gyms in some cases. They’re especially appealing to wealthier foreign students whose parents like the idea of a secured building in close proximity to the campus.

Purpose-built halls will often be managed by a letting agency. This is a recommended route into the student sector for investors. Everything is controlled on your behalf, from dealing with student enquiries to collecting payments. Rental yields of around 7-10% are assured with a guaranteed stream of tenants every year.

 

To find out more about investing in Liverpool’s student property market, get in touch for a chat.
If you’d like to know more about investing in student accommodation, you might be interested in The Boom in Purpose Built Student Accommodation.

Student Property Investment Still Hot in 2017

Demand for student properties will always be in demand.

Buy-to-let investors have long sought property in places where student numbers are high. Students tend to flock to these same areas year-on-year, assuring a high number of enquiries for the property when placed on the market.

As an investor, it’s likely you’ve been offered student accommodation at some point. With guaranteed interest and attractive rental yields, it’s certainly a venture worth considering. However, as with any property investment, there are potential hazards to look out for.

Student Accommodation

In the UK, there are around 2.3 million students at university during term time. And as we all know, many of them are relaxed over their accommodation as long as campus buildings, basic amenities, nightlife hotspots and transport links are close by.

Because of this, even relatively inexpensive housing will attract high tenant numbers and produce impressive yields if in prime areas. Furthermore, unlike some other sectors of the property market, student accommodation will always remain in demand.

Potential Problems

The bad reputation of British students can tend to put some prospective buyers off. In some cases, with students left to their own devices, properties can fall into disrepair and collecting rent can even be tricky at times.

However, the facts don’t back up this misguided preconception, proven by the substantial and long-standing profits of student landlords across the UK.

 

Student Property Investment Still Hot in 2017 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Peter Alfred Hess via Flickr

For those still concerned, the most effective way to alleviate these fears is by investing in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) through a regulated estate agent. This means there’s no more worry over a faulty boiler, leaking taps or broken microwave – everything is managed on your behalf.

A study completed last year by estate agents Savills’ shows that the market witnessed activity worth £5.6 billion in 2015.

This is largely because students are becoming more attracted to the secure yet accessible nature of PBSA buildings, incorporating private bathrooms, large communal areas, high-speed broadband and even gyms in some cases.

Prime Locations

As with all property investments, location is key. Look for universities with large student populations and which areas they tend to congregate in. As an example, Leeds University students tend to flock towards the Woodhouse district with its fantastic transport links, local amenities and array of drinking establishments.

Another tip is to look for universities with a high ratio of international students; statistically, they’re more likely to be wealthy and move into PBSA property. The weaker pound post-Brexit is expected to attract more foreign students to the UK in 2017.

 

Student Property Investment Still Hot in 2017 Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Tim Green via Flickr

One good establishment in this regard is Edinburgh University which comprises of around 10,000 foreign students. Consider investing in the purpose-built Braefoot House, based in the Newington area, which is located only a short distance from the science campus.

Further Advice

Many property investors are turning to managed student halls due to the hands-off nature and low cash requirements. With high rental yields of around 7%-10%, sometimes guaranteed up to five years, along with a substantial demand year-on-year, it’s worth looking into for budding investors.

With any outlay of this size, you should evaluate the long-term benefits and plan an effective exit strategy. If looking at purpose-built student accommodation, arrange a meeting with the property developers before committing to an investment.

If you’re interested in investing in student accommodation, get in touch with us today.
We have lots of information on different areas where investment in student properties is producing great profits, including why the University of Huddersfield is top of the class.

Knight Frank Predict Rise in Student Investment

Investment in student property looks set to rise

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper, logged in to an online media website or turned on the television of late, would be forgiven for thinking that the property market is in utter turmoil and ready to implode at any minute. Brexit fears, mayoral elections and general uncertainty has led to journalists up and down the country doing what they do best – scaremongering.

However, when you consult the actual experts and speak to those who are really involved in property investment, the response that you receive can often be quite different. Take the new report from Knight Frank as a prime example. The results found in their examination of the commercial property industry show that the forecast for the future of British property investing is anything but downbeat. In fact, for asset classes such as student property, the future looks decidedly rosy.

Knight Frank Predict Rise in Student Investment Aspen Woolf

Image credit: rawpixel via 123RF

Specialist property sectors set to increase

While it may be true that some areas of the property market are not currently performing as well as they have done in the past, being a canny investor is all about looking forward, not back. Transferring from one investment vehicle to another and pivoting when needs must is key to maintaining a buoyant portfolio, and the specialist property sector looks set to continue to offer investors a viable alternative to other, less secure opportunities.

The report states that the specialist sectors investigated – healthcare, student property, automotive and hotels – will see a 10 per cent increase in total investment this year when compared to 2015. This will take the specialist sector market to an incredible £14.3 billion by the end of the year.

Overseas investment will continue to be noteworthy, with money expected to come from Asia Pacific investors and North American funds amongst others. This proves the point that the momentum in this market is growing and that professional investors are viewing the UK’s specialist property market as a good option to bring stability to their overall investment portfolios.

Knight Frank Predict Rise in Student Investment Aspen Woolf

Image credit: photodeti via 123RF

Student property attracting significant attention

One area of the specialist property market that is gathering pace is the student property market. For quite some time now, student property has outperformed other parts of the British property market, and we are currently seeing more and more investors cottoning on to what is viewed as one of the most secure and balanced investments available.

Both international and institutional investment looks set to rise over the coming months and the amount of student property real estate investment trusts will also increase. Knight Frank also predict that there will be a consolidation of assets and a rental uplift that will hit 3.5 per cent during 2016.

Knight Frank Predict Rise in Student Investment Aspen Woolf

Image credit: lena82 via 123RF

Student property also exceeded both its five and 10 year averages in 2015, and the trend looks as though it will carry on as we move ever closer to the second half of 2016. So, for those looking to bring a more defensive asset into their investment portfolio, student property could well be the answer they have been searching for.

Has this inspired you? Then you may also be interested in Everything You Need to Know About Student Investment in the UK.
For more good news, check out Property Investors to Benefit from Tax Relief.

A Guide to Investing in Property in Huddersfield

Huddersfield's own train station.

The UK is currently experiencing record levels of population growth, and the draw of the British Isles shows no sign of abating any time soon. Property is at a premium across many parts of the country and the government has recently announced that the amount of homes standing empty is currently at an all-time low.

The powers that be are under constant pressure to answer difficult questions about the amount of housing that we will need to be able to accommodate the growing population and it is expected that 20 per cent of the British public will be in rented accommodation within the next five years. Is it any wonder that putting money into the property investment market is still being viewed as one of the shrewdest moves that a person can make? Not really.

However, there is one question that many would-be investors ask before expanding their portfolio into property, and that is where should I be investing my money? Here, we take a look at the historic market town of Huddersfield and explore some of the reasons why we think that this part of Yorkshire offers investors a fine opportunity for growth.

 

A Guide to Investing in Property in Huddersfield Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Duncan Verrall via Flickr


An overview of Huddersfield

Huddersfield is a large and well-established market town in West Yorkshire with a history that dates back some 4,000 years. It has a population of around 163,000 and is situated halfway between Manchester and Leeds with good road and rail connections to both cities.

Despite being known as a market town, Huddersfield is also home to a wealth of manufacturing plants. What was once predominantly an area synonymous with woollen textiles, Huddersfield’s manufacturing is now a far more diverse affair. While there are still a few textile manufacturers based here, such as Taylor & Lodge and C & J Antich, other, more industrial, forms of manufacturing have come to the town over recent years.

Tertiary education is catered for by the University of Huddersfield, the town’s largest single employer and an institution that dates back to 1825 when it was known as the Huddersfield Science and Mechanics Institute. The university’s chancellor is HRH The Duke of York and is regarded as one of the best higher education facilities in the country in terms of environmental performance.

Huddersfield’s local economy

Huddersfield is commonly grouped with the wider area and placed into what is known as the Leeds City Region. As such, the market town enjoys a relatively high status as one of the largest economies in the area.

The town has a good mix of big names and smaller, less corporate businesses within its boundaries and it has enjoyed considerable growth over the last decade, something that is expected to continue. The area’s overall economy is currently worth somewhere in the region of £5.75 billion, a figure that is forecast to rise by a further £2 billion (37 per cent) by 2026.

As mentioned in our overview above, Huddersfield is home to a large number of manufacturing businesses and is currently recognised as being the third largest manufacturing employment base in the whole of the country behind Birmingham and Leeds. Huddersfield’s manufacturing plants employ over 30,300 people, around a sixth of the town’s workforce. The digital sector is also well represented in Huddersfield with around 2,300 businesses from the tech and creative realms in the area.

In total, just short of 14,000 employers bring jobs and prosperity to the town and the area is often cited as being in the top 10 places in the United Kingdom for the number of residents who are in active employment.

Huddersfield regeneration

Despite already being on an economically sound footing, the local government in Huddersfield is constantly seeking to improve the area’s fortunes and look ahead to the future. Twenty-one new sites were proposed by Kirklees Council in September 2015, across which over 4,000 new homes may be built.

The recently approved £180 million development, Grimescar Valley, will bring 190 much-needed new homes to the town and a host of community benefits. Another site that is currently in development is Lindley Moor. The 7.94-hectare site is situated on the northwest edge of the town and sits on what was once agricultural land.

This new mixed-use development is set to create 252 new dwellings comprising a mixture of two, three and four bedroom houses which will be built in terrace, semi and detached formats. Transport improvements have been promised as part of the site’s regeneration and there has also been a significant contribution made to help fund the additional school places that the local area will need once building has been completed.

Then, there is the regeneration of sites such as the historic Newsome Mills that are also looking to breathe new life into the town. The former industrial giant is a listed building that is recognised by the Victorian Society and is sure to become a much sought after address once work has been completed.

 

A Guide to Investing in Property in Huddersfield Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Tim Green via Flickr


A total of 48 apartments within the mill and 20 houses on grounds to the rear of the existing building have been proposed. This, and other projects springing up across the town, will undoubtedly bring a higher standard of residential accommodation to the area, bringing with it further growth and prosperity.

From the commercial sector, there is the redevelopment of one of Huddersfield’s landmark buildings, St George’s Quarter. The former railway warehouse is now set to become the town’s most iconic office space after what has been a rocky road after the global recession of 2007/08. The new development, which will also include a conference hall and exhibition rooms amongst other facilities, is being eagerly anticipated by local businesses and the hope is that it will spawn further regeneration of the area. The centrally located site’s plans also include a brand-new section of the existing underground walkway that will connect the building to the centre of town.

Another commercial property development of note is Park Valley Mills in Lockwood. This recently completed 13-acre site is home to 18 brand-new industrial units spanning 6,000 sq ft, all equipped with office and storage space. The demand for such space is high in the area, and each of the 18 units have already been let. This vote of confidence in redeveloping old sites into new business areas is sure to attract greater attention from investors which, in turn, will further bolster Huddersfield’s local economy.

Transport to and from Huddersfield

Huddersfield is an extremely well connected town that is served by both the M1 and M62 motorways. These two roads give the town access to all four points on the map, with the M1 running north to south and the M62 providing east to west connections. The M1 can be joined around 10 miles to the east of town while the M62 is just a short 2.5-mile drive to the north.

There is also a ring road that surrounds the town, providing traffic relief for the town centre itself where a lot of the roads are now pedestrianised. The road, part of the A62, was built in the 1970s and is a well-established route around town, forming the boundary that defines Huddersfield’s central business district.

The town is also well served by rail. Huddersfield railway station has a number of regional and national travel options on offer, but it is lacking a direct link to London. However, passengers are easily able to make a journey to the capital via either Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly, Mirfield or Wakefield Westgate. Locally, the rail network links Huddersfield with all of the main northern cities, including Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, Newcastle upon Tyne, York and Middlesbrough.

 

A Guide to Investing in Property in Huddersfield Aspen Woolf

Image credit: James Cridland via Flickr


Huddersfield bus station is the main hub for the town’s bus service, a very popular way to get about town. In fact, it has a daily footfall of around 35,000 passengers, making it the busiest bus terminal in the whole of West Yorkshire. Huddersfield also boasts a completely free bus service, aptly named the Free Town Bus, which gives locals and visitors alike a zero-fare way to get around the town centre.

Local life

Huddersfield residents often describe the town as having the best of both worlds available to them. Situated as it is in the heart of some of the finest countryside that Britain has to offer, the historic market town gives those who wish to get back to nature the opportunity to do so. However, for those who like to indulge in all that urban life has to offer, Huddersfield stacks up pretty well in that regard, too.

As you would expect from a place steeped in 4,000 years’ worth of history, the town also has a multitude of cultural experiences on offer. The National Coal Mining Museum is based in between Huddersfield and Wakefield and gives visitors the opportunity to remember just how important the industry was to Britain’s growth, especially during the industrial revolution.

If you prefer to keep things above ground, then the West Yorkshire Sculpture Park may be of more interest to you. Permanent displays from the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore are joined by an ever rotating programme of visiting exhibitions and displays. Huddersfield’s classic architecture also draws visitors from local cities and beyond, and Victorian buildings such as the local town hall and train station are spoken of with great pride and affection by the locals.

 

A Guide to Investing in Property in Huddersfield Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Monica via Flickr


Foodies have a surprising amount of options available to them in town, with a smorgasbord of cuisines just waiting to be sampled. While there are plenty of chain restaurants here, there are also a lot of very good independent eateries, too. Thai Sakon, Eric’s, Parky’s Bistro and Apadana are firm favourites of those in the know.

The Lawrence Batley Theatre provides the people of Huddersfield with live entertainment, from shows to plays, comedies to concerts, the LBT has a lot going on throughout the year. For anyone who wants to don their dancing shoes, the town’s two nightclubs are always ready to welcome you. Tokyo and Camel Club offer different themes on different nights, so there really is something for everyone here.

Live music is well catered for in Huddersfield as there are several bars and pubs that also have bands playing in them. The four main places to spot new and established acts are The Parish, Five Bar, Rhubarb and The Rock Café. Standard bars and pubs are plentiful too, so visitors and residents are never short of a good night out in Huddersfield.

Sport also plays a huge part in Huddersfield’s local life, with football and rugby league being the two main protagonists. Huddersfield was actually the birthplace of rugby league, and it is home to a number of clubs including the Huddersfield Giants whose history dates back to 1864. Huddersfield Town F.C. are the main football club for the town and they have the honour of being known as the very first club to ever win the league championship three times in a row, something that has only ever been done by four clubs in the history of Association Football.

So, why invest in Huddersfield?

As part of the Leeds City Region, Huddersfield offers investors in all areas of the property market a unique opportunity to potentially enjoy big city benefits in a medium-sized market town. The property market in the town has been buoyant for some time, but there is still plenty of room for investment here.

A lot of people are now looking to Huddersfield as an easy commuting town for the bigger cities that surround it. Leeds and its huge financial district are under 20 minutes away by train; Manchester is just 35 minutes away; and Liverpool and Sheffield can be reached in a little over an hour. This connectivity is bringing people into the town and, with all of the local regeneration happening, more and more businesses are starting to see the potential that Huddersfield has as well.

 

A Guide to Investing in Property in Huddersfield Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Neil Turner via Flickr


Huddersfield is a town that is attracting interest not only from domestic investors, but also from overseas. We believe that this part of West Yorkshire is in good shape, and the current move towards further regeneration of the area can only mean that the town is heading in the right direction.

Want to know more? You might find The Advantages to Buying Off-Plan Investments and A Guide to Buy-To-Let Investments interesting.

Contact us for advice, help or to start your property investment journey.

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire

Over 9,000 students move through the University of Cumbria each year.

With so many investment options available these days, finding the right one for you can often prove to be somewhat of a minefield. Student property is one investment vehicle that has gained widespread popularity over the last decade, mainly thanks to the sector’s performance through the recession years post 2007.

Lancashire, too, has been experiencing heightened interest of late. Many landlords and investors have been looking to the North of England for a while now, seeing areas such as Preston, Burnley, Blackburn, Blackpool and beyond as viable alternatives to the now hard-to-enter market of London and the South East.

Putting both student accommodation and the county together, then, seems to make a lot of sense. Therefore, we decided to produce a guide that will help you get an overall feel for the county and what it has to offer. Here we will discuss the local economy, how well the county is served by transportation links, regeneration projects, current and future investments happening, and, of course, the county’s universities.

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into our latest guide.

 

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Matthew Hartley via Flickr


The economy of Lancashire

As with so many other Northern English counties, Lancashire’s economy was once based largely upon industry. Coal mining and textile production were the most common, while Preston Docks (now commercially disused) served the county as its industrial port. Shipbuilding, too, was prominent in Barrow-in-Furness in years gone by.

Although the decline of the above industries is as obvious in Lancashire as it is in the rest of the UK, the county is still well served by industry with several multinationals now calling the Red Rose county home. Defence is possibly the largest industry in Lancashire as companies such as BAE Systems Military Air Solutions, BAE Systems Global Combat Systems, Ultra Electronics and Rolls Royce are all based here.

Nuclear power, too, has a home here, with a large plant operated by Westinghouse in Springfields, Selwick, and Heysham Nuclear Power Station which is run by British Energy. Manufacturing is well represented as well by the likes of Leyland Trucks, Crown Paints and BAXI.

The service industry, too, is growing in Lancashire, as it is in many formerly industrial counties of the north. Enterprise plc, National Savings and Investments, Airline Network and Xchanging are all based here, bringing jobs and continued economic growth to the region.

Transportation

Much of the local economy mentioned above relies heavily on the county’s fantastic transport links, especially the M6 motorway system that runs through Lancashire from north to south, taking in both Preston and Lancaster along its path. Other notable motorways include the M65 which runs from Colne and connects Preston to Accrington, Blackburn and Burnley; the M61 runs from Preston via Chorley; the M66, which is just inside the boundary line and links the county with the major north-western hub that is Manchester; and the M58 that services the southernmost part of Lancashire as it runs from the M6 close to Wigan through to Liverpool via Skelmersdale. There is also a plethora of A-roads connecting the county both east and west and north and south.

 

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Amanda Slater via Flickr


Lancashire is also well served by the rail network with the West Coast Main Line providing direct links to many major cities, including London. Locals can pick up the line from either Lancaster or Preston. East to west connections are also decent, thanks to the East Lancashire Line that runs between Colne and Blackpool, as well as other routes such as the Ribble Valley Line. Bus services are also extensive throughout the county as well.

Although the county does have an international airport (Blackpool), there are currently no scheduled services operating from there. However, Lancashire is still well served by two of the north’s biggest airports, Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Both Heysham and Fleetwood have ferry services across the water to the Isle of Man, too.

Lancashire regeneration projects

There are a number of regeneration projects running currently throughout Lancashire and a fair few in the pipeline waiting on approval too. West Lancashire Borough Council, along with its partners, the Homes and Community Agency and Lancashire County Council, recently conducted a study of the West Lancashire Economy, giving all concerned parties a fantastic foundation upon which to improve the local economy.

Last year, 2015, saw the beginning of the strategy that came from the report – the West Lancashire Economic Development Strategy for 2015-2025. The aim of the strategy is to push for continued growth in the region through sustainable regeneration whilst adhering to a key set of principles, values and priorities. Eight key themes make up the basis of the strategy, with housing and revitalised town centres a priority.

Similarly, the east of the county is also striving for greater investment and the regeneration of needy areas. Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership has recently stated that major investment into the local rail and road network could result in as many as 15,000 jobs being created, and generate a staggering £685 million in economic growth.

 

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Tom via Flickr


Despite the already established and well regarded transport links that are already in place, the report states that improving traffic flow between Lancaster and Morecambe, and faster, more frequent train journeys between all of Lancashire’s main stations, will boost the local economy significantly.

Local development projects

Development projects are springing up all the time across Lancashire, proving that investors are viewing the county as one of the country’s rising stars in the property market. Preston was recently tagged as a national housing zone, and 776 new homes look set to be built in the city in order to transform the local area.

Plans are also in place for more homes in Fulwood, on land to the north of Eastway. Developers have worked closely with Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council in order to bring a mixed use development that will include up to 300 new houses for the area.

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: John Dickinson via Flickr


Pendle Council Development Management Committee also recently granted permission for 500 new homes to be built in Barrowford, and Darwen Borough Council has also begun clearing sites to make way for the proposed 9,400 homes that it wishes to build by 2020.

Councillors are also in discussions about the proposed building of 580 homes in Burscough, West Lancashire. The 180-acre Yew Tree Farm site plan includes 33% affordable housing and 20% homes specifically designed to cater for elderly residents.

Investing in Lancashire

As we have already demonstrated throughout this guide, Lancashire is certainly a county that is on the rise. New companies are springing up all the time across the region, and existing businesses are increasingly looking to set up a base in the county, too. Housing is also being taken into consideration. As the local economy grows and more jobs are created, so too will the demand for better housing across this part of Britain.

One such transformative investment project is the Preston and Lancashire City Deal. This scheme aims to provide the area with both jobs and housing in one fell swoop and £434 million worth of investment has already been earmarked for the programme. Improved infrastructure in both Preston and South Ribble will enable the forecasted 20,000 new jobs to be created in the private sector as well as a predicted 17,420 new homes.

The prediction for the resulting boost to the local economy is impressive. It is hoped that the City Deal will generate an extra £1 billion over the next ten years, a decent return on investment and one that will, naturally keep on giving back to the local area.

Then there’s the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme, a scheme that offers funding to areas looking to create jobs and improve growth. The county is currently drafting their Lancashire ESIF Strategy and it is hoped that investment will be forthcoming and that significant benefits will ensue for both local businesses and residents alike.

Lancashire education

As you are thinking of investing in student property, it is naturally prudent to look into the educational facilities that the county has to offer. Lancashire is well served in terms of universities; the key seats of learning that will provide tenants to those investing in purpose built student accommodation. There are four universities within the county’s boundaries, as well as seven colleges that provide the local area with a wide and varied range of higher education courses.

It is the universities that we will explore in more depth here, however, starting with the largest – the University of Central Lancashire.

University of Central Lancashire

Initially founded as the Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge back in 1828 by Joseph Livesey’s Temperance Society, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is currently the largest of the county’s four seats of learning. With over 25,000 students studying here each and every year, UCLan is the 19th largest university in the whole of the United Kingdom in terms of student numbers.

 

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Ben Sutherland via Flickr


The university’s campus is an urban one, with sites in Preston and Burnley, as well as two others outside of the county; one in Westlakes, West Cumbria that carries out programmes related to nuclear and energy research; and a second in Cyprus that cost an estimated €53 million and opened its doors in 2012.

Over 100 different countries are represented by the overseas students and researchers here at UCLan and the university has active partnerships with 125 international institutions. The popularity of the facility with those from outside the UK is something that should not be ignored by those who are thinking of buying into the student property market in the area, as the vast majority will be looking for places to stay while they study here.

Edge Hill University

Situated in Ormskirk, Lancashire, Edge Hill University is an extremely well regarded educational facility that finally came top in the prestigious annual Times Higher Education Awards in 2014 after having been shortlisted three times previously. The university was also named as the Times Higher Education’s Best University Workplace in 2015 thanks to the outstanding response from its workforce in the Times Higher Education (THE) Best University Workplace Survey.

Edge Hill University currently has around 16,000 students on its books and, as one would expect by its performance in the aforementioned awards, its overall satisfaction rating is extremely high. The university’s student union was also voted as the best in the North West of England and it is one of only two universities to have been given a Green Flag Award for the upkeep of its safe, welcoming and attractive campus.

The 160-acre site in Ormskirk, upon which the campus is situated, has a student hub, sports complex, arts centre and a multitude of faculties and facilities for students to enjoy and make use of. Edge Hill is truly a remarkable university.

Lancaster University

Known officially as the University of Lancaster, Lancaster University is a member of the N8 group of research universities along with Liverpool, Leeds, Durham, Manchester, Newcastle, York and Sheffield. It celebrated its 50th anniversary a couple of years back (2014) with several events spread across the year that involved students both past and present.

Its main campus is Bailrigg, a site that was donated in 1963 by Lancaster City Council. It spans an impressive 360 acres and  was specifically designed to integrate residential, social and teaching areas. Vehicular traffic is separated from pedestrianised areas by way of a peripheral road that has a linking underpass, which also houses the recently refurbished Bailrigg bus station.

The university has four faculties: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Faculty of Health and Medicine; Faculty of Science and Technology; and the Faculty of Management. The university consistently appears within the top 15 of UK newspaper league tables and is highly regarded both locally and beyond.

University of Cumbria

Despite the somewhat misleading name, the University of Cumbria actually has a major campus in Lancaster on Bowerham Road. The university came into being after the merger of the Cumbria Institute of the Arts and St Martin’s College, Lancaster.

 

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: John Campbell via Flickr


There are two faculties within the university, the Faculty of Health and Science and the Faculty of Education, Arts, and Business. Over 9,000 students move through the University of Cumbria each year and it is currently ranked within the top 100 universities in the UK by The Times.

Student life in Lancashire

The range of things to do in and around Lancashire is wide and varied. Cities such as Preston, Blackpool and Blackburn all offer plenty in the way of entertainment for the local student population, but it’s also worth remembering that both Liverpool and Manchester are within easy reach too.

Preston has great shopping areas, some decent galleries and an extensive café culture that is ever growing thanks largely to the student population making use of the city’s coffee shops while they are not in the lecture halls. For those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the urban environment, there are also parks within the city centre that offer an oasis of calm without having to travel too far.

 

A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Lancashire Aspen Woolf

Image credit: Gidzy via Flickr


Nightlife is also good across the county. There are numerous clubs, bars, music venues and eateries to explore. As well as all the usual chain venues, there are also one or two surprises to be found. Get down to Blackburn where you’ll find a plethora of indie venues and also a revitalised Northern Soul scene for those who like to dance until they drop. Then, of course, there’s Blackpool. Blackpool’s nightlife is well known throughout the country and many travel here for a night on the town.

Lancashire has pretty much everything a student needs while they are studying, and a lot more besides. As life away from the campus is usually one of the most important things to any prospective student, this is good news for investors and a factor that should be taken into consideration when looking for your next investment vehicle.

Ready to start your Lancashire investment journey? You might also be interested in reading Everything You need To Know About Student Property Investment In The UK and The Advantages Of Buying Off-Plan Investments.

Or you can contact us to find out how Aspen Woolf can help.