At Property Insider, we’re big fans of the city of Manchester as a property investment location. See our thoughts on Manchester here. However, it’s well worth considering the other towns and cities of the north west as property investment locations too.

There are a couple of reasons why we think the wider north west is good for property investment: Firstly, property prices are well below the national average in many parts of the wider region, and that offers opportunity for good rental yields. Secondly, many of these locations are very well connected to Manchester, and so well positioned to likely strong future economic growth in Manchester itself.

Here are six north west property investment locations we think are worth considering:


Bolton and its surrounding borough has a population of 262,400. Once a major textile town, with the industry employing a third of the population at peak, significant employers now include paper manufacturing, packaging, transportation, steel and construction as well as service industries such as call centres and IT.

The town centre will benefit from a new £48m public transport hub and a number of regeneration schemes to make it more appealing for shopping and leisure. Logistics North at junction 3 M61 is one of the largest new distribution and logistics sites in the north west.

Bolton is one of the few regional towns to have a university. The University of Bolton was established in 2004 and has 13,000 students. Around 75% of students are drawn from the surrounding area.


Oldham has an area population of 103,000. The town is acknowledged as being one of the first industrialised towns in the world and was a major centre for the textile industry. Although a separate borough the town now has strong commercial and employment links with Manchester seven miles away. It now has a direct tram link into Manchester city centre.

Oldham retains some significant industrial employment with several large private sector employers in publishing, healthcare, food processing and electronics. Retailing and the public sector are also major employers.


Rochdale has a borough population of 206,500 and the local authority predicts that the population will rise by 5% by 2021. Like nearby Oldham Rochdale was one of the first industrialised textile towns. Manufacturing is still a significant employer, employing around 17% of the work force, with the next largest employer being healthcare (12%). A local authority report says that 44% of the workforce travel out of the town to work, mainly to Manchester, 10 miles away.

Rochdale benefits from close proximity to the M62 and M66. The 170ha Kingsway business park at junction 21 M62 will continue to be developed for the next 10-15 years, and is projected to have the capacity to employ 7,250 people and create 1,750 indirect jobs. Rochdale has a direct tram line to Oldham and on to Manchester, and there are plans to electrify the currently ‘slow’ transpennine line from Manchester Victoria to Bradford which passes through the town.

St. Helens

St. Helens has a borough population of around 100,000 and officially comprises part of the Liverpool Urban Area, with which it now has strong commercial and employment links.

Traditionally a mining and industrial (glassmaking) centre the town still retains a number of significant industrial employers. Other large employers are the local authority and the educational sector. The local authority is promoting the town as a centre for business to exploit its strategic position in the centre of the M6, M62, M57 and M58 motorway box.


Warrington was designated a new town in 1968, since when the population has doubled to almost 200,000. It benefits from a strategic location at the junction of the west coast main line and Liverpool-Manchester railways, and the M6 and M62 motorways. As such it has become a major centre for retail and distribution with several large developments (including the first IKEA and largest Marks & Spencer in the UK) over the last 25 years.

A 2014 report from the Centre for Cities ranks Warrington as amongst the top 10 fastest growing economies in the UK. A number of development schemes are ongoing. The Omega site on junction 8 of the M62 is a scheme to develop Europe’s largest business park in phases over the next 30 years. Some projections have suggested it will create 24,000 jobs.

The average property price in Warrington perhaps indicates the economic and employment potential here, being significantly higher than most other north west towns.


Wigan has a population of 81,203 (borough population 305,600) and although equidistant between Liverpool and Manchester is one of the ten boroughs that comprise Greater Manchester.

Traditionally a mining and mill town the economy diversified in the 20th century. Manufacturing is still a significant industry and the town’s Heinz factory is one of the largest food manufacturing centres in Europe.

Here’s a Property Insider briefing you might find useful if you’re interested in investing in this region: The Alien’s Guide To Investing In Property Up North

If you’re looking for value, we’d also suggest you read The Pros and Cons of Investing In Cheap Property

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