Investment of the month: Where to buy property in Britain
From the outskirts of Manchester to Birmingham’s most bohemian neighbourhood, here’s where you should be investing in bricks and mortar
Stamp duty. Bedroom tax. Residential property rates. It’s enough to make your head hurt. The British real estate market is a viper’s nest of hidden clauses, unforeseen dips and unscrupulous agents — and it’s putting many of us off buying all together.
But, before you resign yourself as just another sorry representative of ‘Generation Rent’, why not broaden your horizons? We turned to Paul Mahoney, Managing Director of award-winning financial advisory company Nova Financial, for his top property investment tips — and his suggestions may surprise you.
Rather than looking in London, property investors both domestically and overseas have been tempted northwards — with factors from strong rental yields and affordable property prices to impressive economic drivers enticing them away from the capital. But where exactly should savvy investors look to be buying?
Salford, outside Manchester, offers great commutability
“One area that we see the most value in,” says Mahoney, “as well as growth potential, is the outskirts of Manchester city centre, specifically Salford. And, when I say outskirts, I mean about a mile from the centre — where property can be 20% to 30% cheaper than the centre of the city, but offer almost as much commutability.”
Salford, a new contemporary cultural and entertainment hub, has gained popularity in recent years thanks to MediaCityUK setting up in the Greater Manchester area. With gleaming architecture and waterside dining, the district also houses the Lowry arts centre.
“Transport links, such as the expansion of the Manchester Metro, are adding value within one to three stops of central city areas,” reveals Mahoney. “And you should be looking for one and two bedroom apartments to invest in — as around 60% of all households in this area are currently single occupancy.”
Digbeth, outside Birmingham, is a developing bohemian district
“Digbeth in Birmingham is within walking distance of the city centre,” says Mahoney, “and offers just as many amenities to potential buyers. This area has a lot of potential to benefit from the ripple effect of the city centre.”
Once gritty and industrial, Digbeth is now a developing, bohemian district know for its creative workshops such as the Custard Factory and Eastside Projects. Street art brings colour to the neighbourhood, grungy clubs have sprung up in former warehouses and street-food markets bring world cuisine to the area on weekend.
“People should be looking to buy here now,” advises Mahoney, “as property investment is always about ‘time in’ the market rather than ‘timing’ the market. I’ve seen similar areas, slightly closer to the centre, grow in value by 15% to 20% over the past 18 months — and we expect the same to happen within two years to these areas slightly further out.”
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