Buying a property in areas actively undergoing urban regeneration can offer a good investment opportunity for purchasers looking to get onto or move up the housing ladder in 2023, despite the rising cost of living and increasing interest rates.
According to leading UK property developer SevenCapital, urban regeneration is a signpost of future growth and demand, resulting in amenities that improve the local area, attract new residents and boost property prices.
From the regional epicentres that are leading the way with long-term masterplans to emerging towns that are spending millions on vital infrastructure, here’s five key locations which are top of the class for homebuyers and property investment in the UK for 2023:
Recently crowned ‘City of the Year’ at the Estates Gazette Awards 2022, Birmingham has seen unprecedented regeneration over the last 20 years, with notable projects including the Bullring, New Street Station, Grand Central and the West Midlands Metro Line.
At the heart of the city, Paradise journeys towards completion, following in the footsteps of Snowhill – the largest speculative office schemes outside of London delivering over 120,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, 1.74 million sq ft of office space and three new public realms to the city.
Meanwhile, Digbeth continues to experience substantial investment including Birmingham Smithfield – a £1.9 billion project that will transform large parts of the area into mixed-use office and commercial space, residential units and public space. It has been announced as the new home for Peaky Blinder’s Digbeth Loc. Studios, whilst also gearing up to welcome MasterChef HQ in 2024.
As the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham not only showcased its transformation to the world, but also benefitted from an additional £700 million of investment spread across numerous suburbs as a direct result of the Games. Having now been named the host of the 2026 European Athletics Championships, the city will continue to demonstrate its ability to host major events as it takes to the stage in front of a global audience once again.
There is still more to come for the city as one of the UK’s most well-known projects edges closer to completion – High Speed 2 (HS2). While the benefits of HS2 for Birmingham will be wide ranging, it’s expected that this new rail line will completely revolutionise the local property market, delivering unprecedented demand from homebuyers looking for cheaper alternatives to the capital and supporting thousands of new jobs.
Bracknell has seen a vast array of urban regeneration over the last 10 years or so, with the appeal of property for sale in Bracknell steadily increasing as a result.
Headlined by the completion of The Lexicon shopping centre, the £770 million ‘Bracknell Vision 2032’ regeneration project is one of the UK’s most ambitious multi-phase schemes designed to rejuvenate the town and cater to increasing demand for property within the London Commuter Belt.
Encompassing over 160 new retail shops, bars and restaurants, The Lexicon was awarded ‘Development of the Year’ at the 2018 Thames Valley Property Awards. The next phase, known as The Deck, will serve as an entrance to the Lexicon and become the new ‘leisure quarter’ from 2023, designed around a newly landscaped public space and home to Bracknell’s existing Hollywood Bowl.
As part of this ambitious regeneration scheme, eight core buildings and six place-making squares have been created to hold outdoor events and activities; whilst £6.5 million has been dedicated towards improving highway infrastructure with 3,800 extra car parking spaces helping to draw more visitors to the town centre. This has ultimately contributed to Bracknell’s popularity – particularly with first time buyers – skyrocketing in recent years.
As one of the most exciting property hotspots in the UK, Leeds is one of the fastest growing cities in the country in terms of local economy, which is having an incredible impact on the population – enticing nearly 10% of those leaving London annually since 2018.
One of the major regeneration projects includes the recently completed £161 million revamp of Leeds City Station. As a major transport hub for the city and Northern England’s busiest station, this regeneration project saw platforms lengthened, a new concourse and platform as well as improved trackwork to increase the reliability of trains. Additional works, due to start construction in 2023, include the creation of a station district, and upgrades to the surrounding public spaces.
The ‘west end’ of the city is also set to receive a facelift with a new £270 million development. After almost a decade of planning, a developer is now in place to help deliver the 2.8-acre ‘Lisbon Square’ site which will include residential apartments, hotel facilities and mixed-use office space.
It’s expected that ‘Lisbon Square’ will play a major role in helping Leeds double the size of the city-centre and boost the wider city’s economy, while delivering an attractive public space.
Finally, £18.6 million has been secured by Leeds City Council from the ‘Getting Building’ fund, which will be spent on three new regeneration projects. Around £8 million will be spent on transforming City Park in the South Bank, while £7.4 million will go towards redeveloping Temple Green Park and Ride, closely followed by £2.6 million being spent on renovating older homes in the Holbeck area of the city.
Like many areas of the UK, Liverpool has undergone extensive regeneration over the past 20 years, transforming it into one of the UK’s leading business destinations and placing it as the top city for computer science research with the one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the UK – coming second only to the West Midlands.
According to Regenerating Liverpool, the city’s most iconic regeneration schemes have collectively been valued at an impressive £14 billion, including £960 million dedicated to LiverpoolONE outdoor shopping centre which attracted big name retailers such as Harvey Nichols. The scheme has been credited as the catalyst for numerous further redevelopment projects and economic growth since it launched in 2008.
Other major regeneration schemes includes Knowledge Quarter, a £2.2 billion inner city project that helped develop Liverpool’s world-leading health, technology and science innovation hub and elevate the city’s economic status in line with London and the South East. Thanks to this regeneration, the area now boasts the Royal College of Physicians, three universities and the Liverpool Science Park, housing over 120,000 square feet of space.
Liverpool’s future is an exciting one, with the first phase of the 30-year Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme launched in 2018 with many more to follow. This £5 billion project will be comprised of five distinct neighbourhoods across two million square metres of land and will redefine the historic waterfront into business, residential and leisure space.
With the added improvement of the city’s road network, as well as upgrades to its train stations, Liverpool’s ever growing urban regeneration is set to further increase its appeal as a place to live and invest.
Once one of the lesser-known locations on this list, Slough has transformed itself into a property hotspot after a substantial regeneration scheme worth nearly £3 billion. The Heart of Slough project is already well underway, transforming large parts of Slough and breathing new life into the area.
Following the development of The Curve – a now iconic multipurpose facility and cultural hub in the town centre, comprehensive plans to continue regenerating the area have been submitted, including a complete replacement of the Queensmere Observatory shopping centre to breathe new life into the high street.
With a site spanning nearly one million sq ft of office space and 500,000 sq ft of retail units, the proposed plan will likely elevate the town further up the list of best commuter towns.
As of May 2022, Slough’s train station now sits directly on the new Elizabeth Line, providing a welcomed extension to Slough’s existing train connections to London Paddington, with residents now having access to other key London employment hubs such as Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.
In fact, nearly 46% of homes in Slough are said to be let to people leaving the Capital, with property prices up to 16% below the South East average and up to 45% less than London.
By buying a property in an emerging location which has plenty of planned urban regeneration or nearby amenities, house hunters can typically benefit from lower property prices initially from the growth in property value that occurs naturally over time as regeneration takes place. In the long-term, these projects improve local areas, but also add unprecedented value to property.
For more information on SevenCapital visit www.sevencapital.com.