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Beyond London: Investment Excitement Elsewhere In England

By Author: Bradley Weiss
Total Articles: 159

The cost of living and doing business in London has reached a tipping point, driving young workers, employers and investors to consider other growing UK cities.

An important signal to many global investors - and even some domestically - that an England exists outside and beyond London came in early 2015. This is when the Urban Land Institute (ULI) ranked Birmingham as a top European city (#6) for property investment, ahead of London (#10), Amsterdam (#8) and Copenhagen (#7).

This isn’t news to everyone, including investors who are already banking on developing property in all points east, west, south and north. Lucent strategic land partnership projects now underway in Allerdale, Southampton and Peterborough bear this out.

The survey (conducted jointly by the ULI and PwC), “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2015,” bumped London down because stratospheric property prices there simply make it a hard investment for anyone new to the game. Because of their affordability, cities including Birmingham are able to attract the entrepreneurial class, which then create jobs that are near more-affordable housing for productive, younger workers.

We see similar advantages in other markets where we work. In Southampton, spinout firms from the various local universities are drawing similar entrepreneurs, giving recent graduates (from, inter alia, University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University) jobs and reason to stay on the south coast of England. Our Royal Pier Waterfront development, an excellent application of land investment funds, will provide the living (730 contemporary waterfront apartments), high quality office space and leisure amenities (premium food and retail, a 250-room hotel, cultural space and an expanded and enhanced Mayflower Park) that may also attract government departments for relocation away from London.

The geographical circumstances of Peterborough, a city just 70 miles north of London, mean it’s a transportation hub with increasing warehousing and distribution functions- indicators that attract real asset management ventures. Its economic mix meant it fared better in the 2008-2010 recession than most of the rest of England. Fletton Quays, the first project being developed by Peterborough Investment Partnership is a 20-acre site that can accommodate about 265 new homes, a hotel, office space and parking as well as additional commercial and leisure facilities. Importantly, the city ranks second highest in the country for private sector employment growth, meaning that central government funding cuts have a lesser effect on the local economy.

The various sites identified by our Allerdale Investment Partnership will include schemes that will create 500 to 600 new homes and which also provide food and retail facilities, a family entertainment centre and a hotel. West Cumbria’s economy is growing at 4.2% (vs. London’s 3.7% growth rate), in part because the nearby Port of Workington has received a multimillion-pound government investment to expand its shipping capabilities, which will also provide many new jobs.

Lucent squarely agrees that while London offers excitement, there’s money to be made elsewhere.

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