Is the North/South divide shrinking? 01/02/22

A popular political topic that sometimes gets media attention is the UK’s palpable economic segregation. When we look at public spending, it can often feel very London orientated, with much of the North feeling particularly underfunded.

The same can be said for both salaries and property prices, with average incomes and house prices in London far outstripping those found more than 50 miles outside the M25.

That being said, we now find ourselves at a real turning point, with covid changing the needs of many through home working, coupled with London’s evermore challenging living costs.

It’s tough to ignore the current cost of living crisis. People now have to decide if commuting is something they can afford whilst maintain the usual creature comforts and a fast-returning social life.

This shift closes the gap between North and South, as more people and businesses are looking to relocate to more affordable Northern cities.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in their UK House Price Index, there is a significant rise in investment by buy-to-let landlords and others in the northern market.

Many homeowners are looking for residences in places that offer them a similar experience to London whilst making a substantial monthly savings. As a result, cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds are gaining popularity with professionals.

The ONS noted that house prices in London climbed by 2.8% in the last year, whilst house prices in the North West increased by 16.8%.

So which cities offer the best current opportunities?

Liverpool represents one of the most cost-effective locations in the United Kingdom, with some of the lowest entry levels in the region. According to recent research from JLL, average house prices in Liverpool are expected to climb by a further 21% by 2026, with a 6.3% average annual rental return. Over the previous five years, House prices have grown by as much as 20.6%, showing a strong trend for future growth.

The 17-29 age bracket is the fastest-growing group in the city, with many looking to move into their first home away from the family nest.

With £5 billion worth of investment going into the Liverpool Waters project, the scheme should deliver over 17,000 jobs to the area boosting the economy and local house prices. More than ever, it would seem now is the right moment to invest in Liverpool.

For the last 15 years, Manchester has seen incredible growth and success. Investment from across the globe has created thousands of jobs, helping boost commercial interest in the city, creating one of the largest property booms anywhere.

The city is an attractive market in its perfect balance of location, local infrastructure and affordable prices. Standing as arguably the connective hub of the North, Manchester often features as the first stop on most journeys across the region.

The city also benefits from a rich industrial revolution history, trendsetting music and sporting greatness. These fundamental elements make it easy to recognise and confident in its continued success.

One of the largest property portals (Zoopla) has indicated rents across the city are still rising, with prices hitting a 13-year high of 8.3% in the final three months of 2021. With demand still outstripping supply, this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

To find out more, speak to a member of the Elavace team today.