Which UK Towns Might be Worst Hit by Brexit
A no-deal Brexit can cause problems for towns in London’s commuter belt and beyond. The more polarised a town’s or city’s property market is, the harder it could be hit after a no-deal Brexit. The great thing is – it’s not all bad news. During the most volatile political times of the last 40 years, let’s delve deeper into the murky world of a no-deal Brexit and what it could mean for some of the country’s most at-risk property markets.
Property Investment in Stevenage
Downside: There is what you might call “a bit of a gap” in property prices in our beloved Stevenage, with the property gap widening from 68% to 197% in the past five years. The average detached house in Stevenage comes in at around £553,697 compared to £186,422 for a one-bedroom flat.
Upside: There’s massive investment in start-ups and mature businesses happening in Stevenage, making it one of the greatest innovation/investment hubs in the UK. Not only is it close to London but its location near Cambridge also makes it an exciting investment opportunity. If you’ve ever been to Stevenage, you’ll know the greenery and numerous parks are just a part of this town’s charm and one of the reasons it makes it a very attractive buy-to-let opportunity.
Property Investment in Milton Keynes
Downside: Fiona Baldwin of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office has already urged businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Also known as ‘Brexodus’, EU workers are fleeing Milton Keynes yet local workers are not filling the open positions, which could spell trouble for the local economy.
Upside: Milton Keynes Businesses have been told to “Keep calm, carry on, and be ready for change”. And that’s what we Brits do. Brutalist architecture (which Milton Keynes has a lot of) has become pretty chic these days with high-rise developments being greatly sought after, which points towards buy-to-let in this area being something well worth considering.
Property Investment in Northampton
Downside: A report from East Northants Council states in the situation of a no-deal Brexit: “The main difficulty is knowing what we are planning for, with little or no direction coming from the Government and its ministries. With this lack of clarity, the council and all relevant agencies in Northamptonshire have considered the possible risks to be: public disorder, workforce shortages, food/fuel/medicine supply chain issues, transport issues.”
Upside: 18.4% of Northampton’s population are in rented accommodation, with that figure to rise over the next 10 years, now seems to be the time to strike if you’re going for a buy-to-let in this large market town that dates back to the Bronze Age. Boasting buildings and facilities such as the Grade II listed Northamptonshire Central Library, Northampton holds its own when it comes to pleasing architecture including the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery plus a thriving café culture.
Property Investment in Luton
Downside: Carlos Tavares, owner of Vauxhall, based in Luton, warned the BBC of “dramatic consequences” of a no-deal Brexit. Citing free trade as an overriding factor for the plant, employing 1,225 personnel at its Luton plant, a no-deal would be a punch in the gut, affecting both the local economy and endangering employment.
Upside: With a skilled workforce, fantastic infrastructure and lively social scene, it’s not all doom and gloom for Luton. At just 30 miles to the capital, it really has superb access, Luton is one of the most desirable commuter belt locations and ideal for a buy-to-let investment. An accelerated housing development scheme, investment in the airport facilities and increasing leisure investment in the area means the opening of job opportunities for residents which all contribute to the appeal of the town.
Property Investment in Maidstone
Downside: Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s codename for its contingency plan in the face of a no-deal Brexit has predicted congestion in the greater Kent area with lorries facing delays of up to two and a half days. Projected losses for Maidstone in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit could reach £86.5 million.
Upside: Maidstone buy-to-let properties can yield anything from between 2.3% to 7.2% per year, making it a lucrative option for buy-to-let investors. Known as the “Business Capital of Kent“, Maidstone Borough Council is intent on increasing the borough’s local economy. By 2031 their vision for Maidstone is “A model 21st century county town, a distinctive place, known for its blend of sustainable rural and urban living, dynamic service sector-based economy, excellence in public services, and above all, quality of life“.
Property Investment in Hastings
Downside: When you think of 184.7% from 63.1% over the past 5 years, that’s a fair bit of polarisation. Also, Hastings Council internal Brexit risk document suggests the town may even be flung back to the good ol’ days of rationing depending on the length of any supply shortages.
Upside: Hastings has a bustling culture and arts scene. Hotspots include the Creative Media Centre, The Jerwood Gallery and a newly renovated University of Brighton in Hastings campus, which makes the town a viable option for attracting young talent. £500m of public funds are currently being invested in East Sussex, being channeled towards the Hastings-Bexhill Link Road, plus a brand-new 50,000 square meter Business Park is also being developed nearby.
Property Investment in Watford
Downside: Instead of moving closer to their place of work, a no-deal Brexit could mean that Watford residents will need to commute longer distances which in turn will increase pollution and also add stress to family life.
Upside: Over the next 10 years, £1.5Bn is being invested in Watford to improve infrastructure, build new developments and improve leisure facilities. A mainstay of Watford life – the Old Charter Place Shopping Centre has received a £150m cash injection which will include restaurants, shops and a 9-screen IMAX cinema with live performance spaces. It’s clear to see why this would make Watford an ideal buy-to-let investment.
In these uncertain times, there are still plenty of opportunities for property investors to take advantage of. With over 14 years’ experience, Aspen Woolf are experts in the area of buy-to-let. With increasing UK rents, now is the time to act and here at Aspen Woolf, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Get in touch today.