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The B to D of why investors are choosing Bradford as their angel of the north

January 20, 2014Article by Ray Withers

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Welcome to Bradford. This often-overlooked city in the heart of the UK is fast becoming a boomtown for investment. Let’s look at the reasons behind this in the B to D of Bradford.

B is for Bradford Broadway

Development of a new Westfield retail centre in the heart of the city is set to enhance the area’s popularity as a shopping destination. The city serves a catchment population of 919,391 with a weighted annual spend potential of £623 million, forecast to grow by more than an additional £250 million on completion of the Broadway development. The 555,000 sq ft retail outlet will host 70+ units, including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Next.

R is for regeneration

£1.5 billion is being invested in Bradford’s regeneration, with government and the private sector joining forces in the Masterplan project. The city centre is set for an extensive makeover, with new public spaces, water features, improved transport links and restored historic architecture. Luxury city living apartments are in development to meet the growing demand from people and businesses relocating to the area. A £35 million City Centre Growth Zone is also underway, designed to attract more business, expansion and investment in the area.

A is for affordable property

Bradford offers a good, yet affordable standard of living and its migrating population has made the city one of the UK’s top residential property hotspots. Residents are attracted by Bradford’s cosmopolitan living, coupled with its location in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. House prices in Bradford are, on average, one third less than London and half the price of the south east. However, the growing demand in the area is pushing up prices in the property market, making it an excellent location for capital growth investments.

D is for digital

Bradford’s Airedale Digital Corridor is home to a number of major digital, electronic and creative companies including Pace, Echostar Europe, Radio Design, Teledyne Defence and Bradford Technonogy Ltd. Bradford is also home to the National Media Museum and the world’s first UNESCO City of Film.

Digital connections are also set to speed up, as a £21.96 million contract between four West Yorkshire local authorities and BT has been agreed. The Superfast West Yorkshire project plans to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97% of households and businesses across West Yorkshire by autumn 2015.

F is for fast connections

Another reason for Bradford’s popularity is excellent national and international travel connections. The Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA) is just 6 miles from the city centre and has thrice daily flights to Heathrow for London links. The airport underwent a major expansion in 2012 to include an exclusive business zone lounge to meet demand. The area is served by road links via the M1, M62 and A1 (M) motorways; with train links enabling travel to Leeds in 20 minutes, with London two hours by train and Manchester within the hour.

O is for opportunities for employment

With a variety of key business sectors, Bradford offers great opportunities for employment as well as business. The city is home to the renowned University School of Management and a number of corporate HQs, including Morrisons, Yorkshire Building Society, Santander and Hallmark Cards.

Bradford’s financial and business services generate over £13 billion pa, projected to grow circa 50% by 2022. There are over 250,000 people employed in the sector, with major employers including Provident Financial, Santander, Yorkshire Building Society, Congregational & General and Gordons LLP.

The city has the largest UK employment base in engineering and manufacturing, with 160,000 jobs in textiles, electronics, printing, medical equipment, automotive engineering, aerospace and energy components. A survey conducted by the Times Higher Education Authority revealed Bradford’s graduate employment was second only to Cambridge.

R is for rapid economic growth

A vibrant city with ambitious development plans, Bradford has the third largest economy in the Yorkshire and Humber region at £8.3 billion per year and this is projected to grow to more than £9.6 billion by 2016. Bradford is the fifth fastest growing area outside of London.

D is for diversity and contrasts

With a population over 524,000, Bradford is the fourth largest metropolitan district in England.  Residents are attracted by Bradford’s cosmopolitan living and Victorian architecture, coupled with its location in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. It is a culturally diverse city, with a flourishing arts scene, museums, galleries, traditional pubs serving locally brewed ale and Michelin star restaurants. Bradford was named England’s Curry Capital in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Get in touch on +44 (0) 1865 202 700 to find out more about investing in Bradford and how you can buy luxury city centre apartments 25% below RICS, with 50% developer finance and delivering 9% returns.

Author

Ray Withers

Ray is Chief Executive and co-founder of Property Frontiers. After graduating, he worked in management consultancy before setting up Property Frontiers. He is also the co-author of "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide," and was involved in the founding of the AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals).
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