When considering the North West, it is easy not to think beyond Manchester and Liverpool. However, substantial investment in infrastructure and regeneration, affordable property prices and high yields make Preston a very attractive alternative.
PcomProperty has been actively promoting Preston developments for over three years. We've been involved in three projects to date and, subject to some minor I's and T's, we are about to launch our fourth, by one of the region's top tier developers.
Currently undergoing its fastest ever period of growth, Preston is a city in the midst of change. In 2018 PwC rated it as the most improved city in the region, beating both Manchester and Liverpool. In 2019 is was named as the North West's best city in which to live.
The regional economy
Lancashire is growing, boasting one of the highest increases in GDP in the country. It is the UK's largest centre for advanced manufacturing and employs 85,000 people in the engineering sector. With more than 500 companies in its supply chain, the county is the UK's number one centre for aerospace and the fourth largest cluster in the world. Lancashire is a potential global leader for the development and assembly of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.
The City Deal
The City Deal is a once in a lifetime funding programme to transform Central Lancashire, creating 20,000 new jobs and 17,000 homes, increasing the size of the economy by over £1 billion. Local government is investing £430 million in transport infrastructure, kick-starting a further £2.3 billion of private inward investment. Preston will be the largest single beneficiary.
The City Centre Masterplan
Preston has clearly defined six city centre zones for regeneration, much of which is already underway. Within each zone, individual sites have been identified for refurbishment or reconstruction, detailing specific building uses, types and sizes. The ongoing improvement of the city centre is offering greatly enhanced living, working, shopping and leisure opportunities.
University of Central Lancashire
UCLAN is one of four universities in Lancashire that between them produce more Scientific, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics graduates than any other part of the UK. UCLAN is currently undergoing a £200 million expansion, driving further demand for city centre accommodation for its growing number of recent graduates and academic staff.
Investor friendly housing development
The city has identified the influx young professionals into the city centre as a core objective in the City Deal. It has recognised the role of the private rental sector in meeting this need and is actively encouraging developers to build the type of modern, high quality and well connected accommodation this demographic demands.
Medium to long term returns
City centre property investors enjoy high rental yields and strong capital gains in locations where the local authority is committed to growth, where the population is increasing and the city living experience is rapidly improving. When a major regional developer enters a secondary city's market, it is time to take notice. Preston ticks all the boxes.