Why Invest In Preston?
Stuart Williams, of Thirlmere Deacon Property Investors, explains why Preston is at the very top of the list of the best places to live in the UK
The third largest city in the North West region of England and the largest city in Lancashire, Preston offers outstanding transport connections, a thriving higher education sector, a growing economy and is the subject of an extensive investment programme.
Though not as well-known as its neighbours Preston is set to follow in the footsteps of nearby investment hotspots Manchester and Liverpool – savvy investors have begun securing property in certain areas of the city in a bid to get ahead of the curve.
Though it might have been overlooked 10 or 20 years ago, the local government have made huge strides focusing on improving the city which has seen its economy take off. Having been voted the most improved city in Britain in 2018 by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers the city is showing no signs of slowing down.
Preston is forward thinking and business friendly, the city has a unique charm and is incredibly proud of its industrial history. Young professionals are increasingly attracted to living in the city due to exciting job opportunities, high quality of life and a lower cost of living than other top cities around the UK.
Key employers include the university, the NHS and advanced technical manufacturing businesses such as BAE systems who have two sites locally. The type of businesses operating in the area and the jobs are attracting highly skilled workers to the city.
Preston enjoys a very high rate of employment which over the last few years has remained to be around 80 per cent, the UK average is around 75 per cent.
According to the Centre for Cities, Cities Outlook report for 2020, Preston continues to be in the top 10 cities with the highest employment rate when compared to cities across the rest of the UK and is the only city not within the southern area of the UK to feature in the top 10.
The high employment rate is a clear positive for investors due to the high proportion of prospective tenants in work.
According to Preston City Council, the city’s population is growing more rapidly than other cities. Between mid-2001 and mid-2017, Preston had an increase in the population of 8.4 per cent, which was greater than the overall North West region’s population growth at 7.2 per cent.
Another driver of the rental market is The University of Central Lancashire, one of the UK’s largest universities, which has a student body of around 33,000 along with thousands of teaching and administrative staff.
The university is continuing to grow with a £200 million transformation plan in place for the Preston Campus including several major projects including the Engineering Innovation Centre which is set to cement Lancashire’s position as a national centre of excellence for advanced engineering, manufacturing and aerospace.
With the investment into the city, top university and the huge appeal of the city generally, the population is set to increase further over the coming years pushing rental demand even higher.