London kicks, the other cities kick back
Day two at MIPIM in Cannes was a mixed spread of other UK Cities all bidding for recognition and investment. It's clear to see that the confidence in the UK economy has spread to all major cities across the UK. Manchester, Derby,Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Sheffield all showcased what each city has to offer. Having spent the past 12 years selling the residential property and in particular regeneration areas, I was impressed to see that all of the cities have clearly identified what is unique about them and how they are going to attract the kind of investment required to undertake the many ambitious programs they have.
It's very easy to overlook anything outside London, but if today has shown me one thing, the major cities are ready for what amounts to massive regeneration the likes not seen since the end of the Second World War. What was a strictly London affair for international investors is fast becoming a London and major cities. I have been saying for the past 5 years. Investors should look at London and the 13 university towns, today I saw 9 of these university cities make a strong case for investment.
Each has multiple universities that they are working closely with to ensure that graduates can get the appropriate jobs. Retention of students who become workers in the area is seen as a key fundamental. All have a very clear understanding of their unique attributes and are focussing on these. All mentioned foreign investment as crucial and all now have the plan to attract it.
Interesting to note is that all are defining themselves in terms of the knowledge economy, this sector is expected to outperform the wider economy.
GVA (www.gva.co.uk) has published a report called “Thought Leadership – Driving future growth: Core Cities and the knowledge Economy” which outlines the key focus for each of the core cities. Not surprising a big focus was advanced manufacturing, life sciences and transport which so many of these cities already excel in.
All of the cities talked about the importance of employment clusters or hubs and city centre living so for residential investors this means massive opportunity.
I got a real sense from the presentations that the UK is back, its shaken off the recession, put it behind it and now has a clear plan where things are going. The plan has both public and private support and I have no doubts the built environment in all of these cities will be very different in the next 5 to 10 years. They are ripe for investment.
For international investors looking to invest in London but you may be feeling it a bit hot; the UK's core cities are definitely an option of the table now. However, the one thing that may hold investment back is the absence of mortgages available. However, for many, the prices are cheap enough to buy in cash and enjoy high yields of up to 10%.
Live with passion,