If you’re interested in investing in property in Cambridge, here are some things you might find useful to know about Cambridge and it’s potential as a property investment, development and buy to let opportunity:
1. Cambridge has grown fast in population terms over the last decade …. and is forecast to grow even further in the future. The population has grown by 8% since 2001 and the ONS forecasts that the Cambridge area population will rise from 607,000 today to 721,000 by 2031 – meaning accommodation will be needed for over 110,000 more residents.
2. There is a large transient population – all of whom need accommodation. Cambridge has a higher proportion of workers from abroad and elsewhere in the UK, per capita, than any other city in the UK
3. The city has one of the largest proportions of students of any UK city – around 20% of all residents are students at the University of Cambridge or Anglia Ruskin University.
(Insider Tip. Take local advice if investing is student accommodation – a significant number of students can be accommodated in university halls.)
4. Cambridge is the home to eight major science parks and many smaller ones …. leading to the Cambridge area being dubbed ‘Silicon Fen’. Many of these are operated in partnership with the University of Cambridge. There’s a high level of co-operation between the academic and commercial sectors and this is a major driver in the local economy.
5. Cambridge Science Park is said to be the largest single research and development centre in Europe. Cambridge is the UK’s single largest centre for the biotechnology industry – one of the world’s fastest growing industries.
6 The Cambridge area is said to be the second largest venture capital location in the world. Over 250 active start up companies are directly linked with the University and together these have a net worth of $6bn.
7. More people have jobs here, as a percentage of the population, than almost anywhere else in the UK. According to the latest 2015 figures from the Centre for Cities Cambridge has the second highest employment rate in the country after Warrington, Cheshire.
8. Local high tech. industries attract highly skilled workers from around the UK and worldwide to live here. (Over 40% of the workforce have a higher education qualification, compared to only 20% nationally.) Partly as a result local salaries are well above average, currently around £40,000.
9. In 2013 Astra Zeneca, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, announced plans to built their new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters in Cambridge on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Cambridge City Council granted planning permission for the development earlier in 2015 and eventually 2,000 employees will be based here.
10. Despite not promoting itself widely as a tourist town Cambridge is an increasingly popular tourist destination. Official figures suggest that approximately 5m tourist visits are made each year. Cambridge is now the second most popular destination (after London) for Chinese visitors to the UK.
11. High local property prices and rents mean an increasing number of those who work in Cambridge are commuting there, leading to the development of a Cambridge commuter belt. The property markets in nearby towns such as such as Huntingdon, Newmarket, Ely and St. Neot’s are proving attractive to those who commute into Cambridge. Popular local commuter villages include: Histon. Impington. Cottenham. Waterbeach. Hardwick. Haddenham. Girton. Milton.
12. There are ambitious plans to expand the housing market in the city to accommodate the rising population. It is estimated that new developments in progress or planned will provide an estimated 10,000 new properties over the next few years.
13. Cambridge could benefit from a new, direct rail link to the East Coast main line, West Coast main line and on to Oxford in the next decade. Network Rail is leading early development work for an expansion of the East-West railway. (The first section of the East-West railway is under construction and will link Oxford and Bedford from 2019.)
14. According to the latest 2015 figures from the Centre for Cities Cambridge is the second least affordable place to buy property in the UK (the first being London).
15. According to property website Zoopla the current average property value in Cambridge is £404,231, with values rising almost 4% over the last year. It also suggests that current entry prices for a one bed property here start in the region of £100-200,000.