One of the UK’s favourite coastal cities, Plymouth is abundant with culture, historical significance and beautiful, natural surroundings. Set in the picturesque county of Devon, it is becoming an increasingly popular place to live, study and work. This in turn makes the port city an attractive prospect to property investors. But what is it exactly that we think makes Plymouth so eye-catching?
With a rich maritime history behind it and the ocean stretching out in front of it, there’s lots to see and do in Plymouth. Visit the Mayflower Steps and relive the moment a ship left the port, setting sail to ‘the new world’ – America. Walk a-ways along the seafront and you’ll come to the Smeaton Tower, the Eddystone lighthouse that became a model in design for all the lighthouses that followed. On cooler days, visitors can head to the myriad of museums, shops, cafes, restaurants and the aquarium for entertainment. Or if you want to head inland, the world-famous Dartmoor National Park and the Tamar Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are both just a short drive away. Award-winning director Steven Spielberg spoke of Dartmoor’s incredible landscape after filming War Horse there, naming it one of his favourite places in the world.
It’s not surprising, then, that tourism is a significant contributor to the local economy.
Making up 25% of Devon’s total by itself, Plymouth has a GVA of over £5billion. This makes it the second biggest city in the south-west region. The city’s rich nautical history has long supported the region, partly as an industry itself, and partly as a draw for visitors.
Indeed, tourism makes up a sizable part of the local economy, being worth over £300million to Britain’s Ocean City. And being right on the water, it’s not surprising that Plymouth’s other key industries are maritime and marine-related, with 270 firms in the sectors. Such industries tend to come with generally well-paid and stable jobs.
The Marine Biological Association and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory attract the world’s best and brightest experts to undertake ground-breaking scientific research in the city. Also a centre for ship-building, the city is home to HMNB Devonport, Western Europe’s largest operational naval base and the only one in the UK that refits nuclear submarines. In fact, according to Navy estimates, the Devonport Dockyard generates about 10% of Plymouth’s income.
It is the combination of these strong economic and career prospects with the cultural experiences on offer that is drawing more students and young professionals to the city year after year.
Students and Young Professionals
Students come to Plymouth for the exciting cultural activities, fun nightlife and, of course, the excellent education. Plymouth is now the fifth largest student city in the UK, with a student population of around 30,000. This is thanks to the high-quality universities and colleges in the city, including the University of Plymouth, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of St Mark & St John and the Plymouth College of Art. These institutions also employ over 3000 people.
Recently, the 18-24 age group has been growing recently, and the percentage of young people in Plymouth’s population is approximately 4% higher than the UK average. And over the past decade the number of people with degree-level qualifications has risen by more than 16,000. Work-based education is also a significant sector in the city. Plymouth actually has one of the highest proportions of successful apprenticeships in the UK.
It would appear that energetic, intelligent young people are flocking to the city. And they have plenty of modes of transport to get them there.
Just because it is tucked down on the south-west coast, it doesn’t mean Plymouth is hard to get to. The A38 connects the city with central England via Exeter and the M5 motorway. Plymouth station also connects the city to much of the rest of the country via the railways. This historic building dates back to 1877, but soon the station will be part of a massive £50million regeneration. £4.7million of funding for this project have come from a recent government scheme aimed at boosting the south-west region.
And then of course, there’s the port. Ferries leave from Plymouth and take passengers to several destinations in France and Spain, meaning taking a mini holiday in the sun is in easy reach.
On the other hand, if you’ve fallen for this historic waterside city (completely understandable), you’re in luck: Plymouth’s housing market is exceedingly promising right now!
The overall average house price in Plymouth is £181,804; that is significantly lower than the UK average of £222,484. Average rents are £927 pm, across all property types. This presents a good opportunity for property investors. Properties are affordable to buy, rents offer good returns and the city has a steady stream of young people likely to be looking to rent a property.
The student property sector has the potential to be particularly profitable. There are 7,450 bed spaces currently available or on the way in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), which is substantially lower than the 30,000 students living in the city. In fact, students make up about 10% of the entire population in Plymouth, with the number climbing year-on-year. This makes competition for student accommodation every year rather remarkable. New PBSA developments, such as our Beaumont Square project, aim to meet this exceptionally high demand.
Overall, Plymouth has a lot to offer people who are looking for a breath of quality fresh air – whether in where they are looking to live, work, study or invest.
If you are ready to start your investment journey, and are interested in what this Ocean City could offer you, take a look at our properties in Plymouth.