Last month the BBC reported a boom in people living in city centres up and down the country, especially in the North of England. It reported that research company Centre for Cities found that since 2000 whilst the UK population has risen by 10% the population of many town and city centres has doubled in size.
Two of the cities in which Farleys have offices have seen significant increases. Manchester was amongst the cities with the highest increase in the UK of 149% between 2002 and 2015 (14,300 to 35,600 people) and it is reported that there are 20,000 city centre apartments in the course of construction. Preston’s city centre population has grown by 50% and that will increase with developments like the former LCC offices on Winckley Square.
The increase in young single professionals seeking fun, work and home in easy reach is largely behind the growth. Manchester had an 84% increase in city centre jobs between 1998 and 2015. Farleys Solicitors have been a part of this growth having outgrown our current Manchester premises following continued expansion of teams across the firm.
We are still seeing substantial investment in city-centre properties from buy-to-let investors despite the efforts of the Government to curb the practice through removal of tax incentives and the imposition of higher rates of stamp duty for buy to let investors. Many overseas buyers see city-centre UK property as an ideal investment. The increase in city centre living has been matched by an increase in business activity in city centres. Most developments combine residential and commercial units. The high street continues to struggle but perhaps less so than it would if city centre populations were lower. On the other hand, leisure businesses such as takeaways, restaurants and bars have thrived; particularly independent businesses which are popular with young professionals.
The future looks set to see continued inward investment into city centres from individuals, companies, and public authorities. Successful partnerships between councils and developers have boosted plans elsewhere. This could perhaps lead to increasing mismatch between wealth and opportunity in city centres and rural places. On the other hand higher rates of city centre living could ease the pressure on commuters with fewer journeys being made in and out of cities.
Whether you’re looking to buy a residential property in the centre of a city in the North West; you are a landlord renting out city centre property; or are a commercial or residential property developer, Farleys’ team of residential and commercial property solicitors can provide you with the expert advice and guidance you need. Call us on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.