County Durham Property Investment Guide

Brett Alegre-Wood
March 3, 2017

An employment hub with a 47% uplift in housing demand

County Durham is a hub to multiple employers and is home to just over 20,000 senior officials.

The 2011 Census estimates that County Durham had a population of 513,200, which means the population of the county had increased by 3.9% in 10 years. 

Not only has the county seen an increase in population but also in the number of housing developments. Plans have just been submitted to transform Durham’s Framwellgate Waterside. The Milburngate House site, which is the former home to the Passport Office will be turned into 400 riverside homes if the plans go through. The £150 million projects will see a new cinema, bars and restaurants as well as 150,000 sq ft of new office space.

Another area due to being developed is just outside of Durham with easy access to the A1. The site will be developed by Citrus Durham Ltd, and will feature up to 270 new homes. The £166 million investment will also have a 70-bed hotel, restaurants, a GP surgery, a 60-bed care home, a nursery as well as almost two million sq ft of employment space. It is hoped this development will provide 4,000 jobs and increase the region’s economy by £2 billion within 10 years.

The North-East of England has the lowest housing costs in the country. However, County Durham saw an increase of 3.71% over the last year according to property website Zoopla. Further, the 2011 Census reported that over 25,000 people privately rent in the county and the Telegraph newspaper has said the area has seen a 47% increase in demand. So prospects are looking up for buy-to-let investors as the market becomes more favourable.

Durham train station is an easy commute into the nearby city, Newcastle upon Tyne, the journey only taking 17 minutes. You are also able to get to Sunderland with a simple change onto the metro-line, which takes up to 50 minutes. Durham station also has direct trains to London Kings Cross, which takes around three hours.

The county also benefits from Durham University which has various campus’ around the city centre as well as nearby Middlesbrough. The university is the 6th top in the country and in the top 100 in the world.

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Economy & Employment

The service sector drives Durham, while the wider county has a more diverse range of employment.

The current business base is dominated by important service and public sectors such as  Higher Education, Civil Service and the NHS.

The county is home to nearly 60,000 professionals and administrative workers. And just over 20,000 senior officials.

Tourism also plays a large role in the economy is responsible for 10% of employment throughout the county.

Additionally, Durham is home to CAV Aerospace, who manufacture ice protection systems for aircraft.

TKA Tallent makes automotive axles and chassis components.

Schmitz Cargobull UK is the UK’s largest trailer manufacturer, notably for refrigerated trailers.

Following on with the tourism industry are The Explorer Group who build Elddis, Compass and Xplore mobile homes. They have climbed the north-west’s top 200 employers list significantly in the last two years, 28 places to 136 in 2014 and then 34 places to 102 in 2015. Last year saw £62.8m in turnover, an increase of 16.83%.

Northumbrian Water, Esh Group (construction), Thomas Swan (Chemicals), Husqvarna-Flymo, Thorn Lighting and Mecaplast Group are all based in and around Durham County.

To find out more information download a free County Durham Property Investment Guide. 


The £150m Milburngate House project is just one of the redevelopments underway.

Milburngate House on the banks of the River Wear has been earmarked for redevelopment by Carillion, Arlington and Richardsons. The £150m project could see 400 new flats with a waterside view along with 150,000 sq ft of office space, restaurants, a new cinema and open space created at the site.

Other redevelopment is in Newton Aycliffe and will have 270 new builds. The £166 million investment will bring 4,000 new jobs to the area, adding an extra £2 billion to the region's economy within 10 years.

There are plans to add a new GP doctors surgery to the 205-acre site as well as a 60-bed residential care home.

Chapter Homes is also planning development in this area. They plan to build 125 two, three, and four bedroom homes within the next two years.

The £6.2m project to redevelop Durham’s bus station will include a new retail offering upon arrival in the city and give it a more appealing and modern look. It will feature daytime and evening café/restaurant facilities.


Air: The two main airports are Newcastle Airport located north of the city near Ponteland, and Durham Tees Valley Airport east of Darlington.

Rail: The East Coast Main Line (ECML) services Newcastle, Durham and Darlington and provides fast connections to London and Edinburgh. The Durham Coast Line joins Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough to the main line. East Coast, Grand Central Railway, Northern and First TransPennine Express all operate services in the county.

Road: The A1(M) runs through Durham county. The Tyne Tunnel was opened as a single-carriageway in 1967, and an adjoining new tunnel was opened in February 2011. The A1 Newcastle Western Bypass was completed in the early 1990s. The A66 connects Teeside with Darlington in Durham.

Bus: There are good bus services operated throughout Durham County, linking the outlying areas to the city.


There are over 250 nursery/primary schools in County Durham, with 36 state secondary schools and five independent schools (four in Durham and one in Barnard Castle).

Notable Institutions: The independent and private schools in the area perform highly. Dame Allan’s Schools, Royal Grammar School (NRGS), Barnard Castle School and Durham School are all members of the prestigious The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.

Durham School is considered to be one of the oldest schools in the UK, and its Old Boys were the founding members of the original Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club.

Further Education: There are several FE colleges in the region. The main such colleges are New College Durham, Darlington College, Bishop Auckland College.

Higher Education: The University of Durham is based in Durham City and is the third oldest university in England. Durham University has been voted the 6th best in the UK and the 61st top university in the world. The university teaches 17,595 posts and undergraduates.

Shops & Leisure

Shopping & Dining: In the city, you will find high street favourites in the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, alongside independent shops and boutiques. Dalton Park offers the biggest outlet shopping centre in the area. Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Stanhope, Barnard Castle and Seaham are all market towns. The county also has a whole host of restaurants, some are, Blacksmiths Arms, in Newton Aycliffe, Restaurant DH1 and Vennel’s Cafe, both in County Durham.

Sport & Culture: Durham also has a rich sporting heritage. Its county cricket club has grown to top-flight cricket now played at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground. For culture try the award-winning Beamish Museum or Bowes Museum, or even the National Railway Museum. To get closer to the sea a good place to visit is the Hartlepool Quay, the area teaches people about maritime history with interactive exhibits and warships.

Green Spaces: Medieval Crock Hall is on the banks of the River Wear, it has tranquil themed gardens for a relaxing atmosphere. The county is surrounded by countrysides, such as the North Pennines, which is surrounded by lakes and rivers, is known as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Another area of greenery is the Hardwick Hall Country Park near the parish of Sedgefield.


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