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Investors, economists and shoppers alike gear up for good times ahead as Bradford’s Westfield construction gets going

February 19, 2014Article by Ray Withers

December 2015 is eagerly anticipated as the opening date of the new Bradford Westfield shopping centre, following construction machinery moving onto the ten acre site earlier this year. Construction has been pending since the project was put on hold in 2010 and thus the recent progress has been well received by investors, economists and shoppers alike.

A key area to watch

With Bradford already highlighted as one of northern England’s key areas to watch in terms of economic development, the project has excited investors looking to be part of the city’s rising fortunes. Ray Withers, Chief Executive of specialist investment company Property Frontiers, knows the area well. He comments,

“Bradford is a city that’s on the up. The construction of the Westfield shopping centre is an essential driver for the local market and is set to attract both investment and business to the area. Housing demand in the city is already strong and tipped to get stronger over the years to come, which has created some fantastic buy-to-let investment opportunities in the city centre.”

Housing demand drives construction

Industry skills body CITB’s Construction Skills Network is particularly excited about the impact of the Westfield project, citing it as one of the key drivers behind the need for new homes in Yorkshire over the coming years. Across the county, CITB is predicting a rise of 4.2% in public housing output and 4.1% in private housing output.

The Property Frontiers development in the city centre is the epitome of the new standard of housing that Bradford is set to receive as the Westfield project moves ahead. Just a five minute walk from Bradford interchange, the development will consist of one and two bedroom apartments, which are available from £50,000, some 25% below market value. A combination of rental yields and developer finance is set to deliver a 9% return on capital, demonstrating the underlying strength of Bradford’s booming rental market.

Retail therapy

As well as the work underway at Westfield, Bradford’s Kirkgate shopping centre is set to undergo a £1 million revamp, adding further value to the city and creating additional employment opportunities. The figure rather pales into insignificance compared to the £260 million price tag of the Westfield centre, but it is representative of the widespread effort underway to make economic regeneration in Bradford about more than just one project.

The city has already been allocated £35 million for its city centre growth zone activities and has lobbied parliament for further funding for the years ahead. Part of the spending will see improvements made to the area between the Kirkgate and Westfield centres, ready for the latter’s opening in just under two years’ time. Whether or not further funding is granted, Bradford is already on track for an economic boom that will see investors, economists and shoppers alike benefiting from the city’s good fortunes.

For further details of how to be a part of Bradford’s rise to economic stardom, contact Property Frontiers today.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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