Bradford: Why UK’s curry capital is hot news for property investors

An exciting local plan is boosting opportunity for property investment

Bradford is the home of curry in the UK. It’s also a thriving and vibrant place to live and work. Its economy is growing rapidly. And it’s been hailed by Barclays as the best place to start a business in the UK.

Barclays looked at growth factors such as broadband speed, access to skilled workers, and how likely it is that a business will survive here. But Bradford is much more than the speed-of-light internet, an educated and skilled workforce, and quality curries; it’s a hot prospect for property investors, where potential is backed by an ambitious and exciting city plan.

Bradford: a city where demand is growing fast

Bradford is the 4th largest metropolitan area in the UK. Its population of more than 530,000 is ethnically diverse and young. Indeed, 24% of the local population is under 16, compared with 19% nationally.

Forecasts of population growth in Bradford indicate that more than 2,000 new homes will be needed here every year. This estimate may even prove to be short of the real need; overcrowding affects around 1 in 10 households here. Not only is demand for homes growing as the city attracts more businesses, but it’s organic too.

Bradford – demand to please buy-to-let investors

While 65% of households are owner-occupiers, approaching 20% of households are renting in the private sector. As an indication of increasing affluence in a city region which is often overlooked by investors, the proportion of those living in the social housing sector has been falling and is now around 15%, compared to the national average of 18%.

Property prices and rental yields will make you happy

Despite its standing as the UK’s best place to start a business, and despite a growing population, the average property price here is going to make you very happy. At just £128,893 (February 2018, home.co.uk), the average price here is around 44% below the national average.

With the average rent here currently standing at £563 per month, the current rental yield of 5.24% is some way above the national average of 4.4% (Your Move, January 2018).

Highly affordable, with above-average yields. An organic demand from a young and growing population, and a city region that’s attracting businesses. But it gets better. Because the future for Bradford looks very bright.

Strong economic growth on the cards

Bradford’s economy is the 8th largest in the UK. Its recent growth has outpaced that of local rivals Leeds and Sheffield, and forecasts made in 2014 are that it will grow by around 25% between 2015 and 2025. It’s on course to do just this, and perhaps even better, powering full-time equivalent job numbers to above 180,000.

A terrifically connected city, about to improve further

Since those growth forecasts were made, Bradford has been recommended for a station on the National Powerhouse Rail (NPR)line. It has been estimated that this addition to its transport network could add a further £1.3 billion to the local economy. This could transform Bradford, making it not only a destination for business but a destination for inward and outward commuters, too.

Growth supported by an ambitious city plan

Bradford’s current city plan is one of the most ambitious I’ve seen. In terms of its economy, it provides for:

  • Working with local businesses, universities, and colleges, to upskill the local workforce
  • Increasing the size of its visitor economy – already a staggering 13 million
  • Improving transport links
  • Making Bradford a digital city

The local authority is providing direct support to local organisations, investing in new business parks, and targeting continued investment of £23 million each year in the district. It is improving the city centre retail offering and ensuring that 87% and more of major planning applications are dealt with within 13 weeks.

Making education a key driver of the economy

More than 60% of schools in the district are rated good or outstanding (Ofsted, 2015). Bradford has put in place strategies to achieve its target of increasing this to 100% by 2020.

Already, Bradford’s rates of young people who aren’t in employment, education, or training are lower than the national average. The local authority is now teaming up with businesses and other organisations in the area to give local young people a head-start in attaining the skills, knowledge, and connection needed to progress rapidly from education to meaningful employment. Initiatives include Bradford Pathways and Industrial Centres of Excellence.

Bradford – excited about building communities

All this economic growth, improved transport connectivity, premier education environment and burgeoning retail will come to nothing if the city doesn’t embrace the building of new homes and creation of new communities. And the local authority recognises this, too.

The Bradford Council Plan recognises the growth in the population. It understands that this will create “demand for a range of homes including properties for sale and high-quality rented accommodation”.

The council here are working more closely with housebuilders than most local authorities. They are listening and collaborating to get the right homes in the right locations, at the right prices. They are:

  • Planning to deliver 9,000 more homes by 2020
  • Allocating land to encourage housebuilding
  • Working with partners to deliver new homes in urban centres and on brownfield land

To support these new communities, Bradford Council is investing in:

  • Transport
  • Social infrastructure
  • Recreational facilities
  • Industrial, retail, and commercial space

You don’t need to take my word for how progressive and forward-looking Bradford Council is. You could download the Bradford Council Plan and read for yourself. When you’ve decided that Bradford should be on your list of target areas for property investment, contact Gladfish on +44 207 923 6100 and book a property investment strategy session, and discover our latest property opportunities in Bradford.

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

About the Author

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Gladfish. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids.

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