When large businesses decide to invest, shouldn’t you?
Investors have made a lot of money by purchasing buy-to-let properties in the commuter towns. Of all London’s commuter towns, Bedford has once more risen to the top of the pile for investment potential. It has flashed loud and bright on our radar as offering an exceptional opportunity to investors.
We’re not the only ones to notice just how hot Bedford is right now. Two of the UK’s largest retail operations have recently announced that they will be opening new distribution centres here, creating thousands of new jobs.
Here’s a summary of what we think they’ve noticed, and why you should have Bedford in your property investment plans.
Bedford is a great town for commuters to London…
Although further north than Bedfordshire’s other commuter towns – Luton, Biggleswade, and Leighton Buzzard – the journey into London takes less than 40 minutes. It’s perfectly located for commuters to benefit from the higher wages of London while living away from the crowded city hubbub.
Offering a high quality of life….
When you visit Bedford, you immediately get a sense of community that Bedfordians say is one of the biggest pleasures of living in the town.
A market town, it has good retail facilities, a number of museums, and leisure opportunities which include water sports, cycling and walking in Bedford Park. A short distance out of town is Priory Country Park, with its meadows, woodlands and nature trails to pass away many idyllic hours.
Bedford is also home to the Bedford River Festival, the largest free outdoor festival in the UK after Notting Hill Carnival.
Which is fantastic for families…
The town is fantastic for families, and not simply because of its good retail offering and exceptional leisure and recreation amenities. It has a top-quality education system, too. Its state school network includes the outstanding Sharnbrook Academy and St Thomas More Catholic School. Bedford School and Bedford Modern School are renowned independent schools. There is also a university, helping to attract a young and vibrant student population into the town.
And with a vibrant economy…
The local economy is among the strongest in the UK. In its February 2018 economic update, Central Bedfordshire Council noted that:
- The unemployment rate here is just 2.9%, compared to the UK rate of 4.5%
- Median full-time weekly pay (residence-based) of £612.70 is 10.2% higher than the UK average
- The proportion of workers with NVQ4 or higher is 32.1%
The largest employers in the area include Unilever, Asda (distribution), Argos (distribution), Capita Children’s Services, and 3M. Major growth sectors include:
- Advanced business services
- Basic business services
- Traditional manufacturing
Businesses are recognising Bedford’s potential
In April 2018, two major companies announced they were to expand their operations and build new distribution centres in Bedford. This will create an estimated 1,400 new direct jobs in Bedford. When making their announcements, here is what the CEOs of B&M and Aldi had to say about their choice of Bedford for expansion:
Simon Arora, Chief Executive of B&M, said, “Our continued nationwide growth has allowed us to invest approximately £100m in what will be one of the largest distribution facilities in the UK. We are delighted to be coming to Bedford and will be recruiting in 2019 as the building approaches completion.”
Matthew Barnes, recently CEO of Aldi UK and Ireland, said, “The excellent transport links and infrastructure in the area made it an obvious choice for our new distribution base as we move towards our long-term ambition of 1,000 UK stores by 2022.”
How do the numbers shape up for investors?
Of course, all the above are strong motivators for investment; but if the numbers don’t work right for investors, then it means very little.
According to the UK House Price Index, the average house price in Bedford is £315,297 (Dec 2017). Capital growth here is outstripping the UK average, with the average house price increasing by 8.6% through 2017. With an average rental yield of around 3%, the total return for Bedford property investors in 2017 was approaching 12%.
With its good transport infrastructure, quality of lifestyle, exceptional education facilities, and growing economy, the potential for property investment in Bedford to continue to outperform is very strong.
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