Property

Where are the most affordable tech hubs to live?

Warren Lewis
|
16th August 2017
wifi

New research by HouseSimple has analyised 30 regional digital tech hubs, including London and ranked each city by average house price, number of digital jobs and digital tech sector growth potential.

According to their findings, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool, will be the digital tech start-up hotspots of the future, as they ranked highest of any UK city for a combination of most affordable property, number of digital tech jobs and the growth potential of their digital tech economies, according to research by online estate agents HouseSimple.com.

Manchester came out on top in the rankings. With average house prices in the city at £161,611 - one of the lowest of any of the 30 tech hubs identified in the Tech Nation report - more than 60,000 digital jobs and tech sector growth potential of 85%, one of the highest. Manchester is well placed to prosper when Britain leaves the EU.

Glasgow was a close second, with average house prices just £119,487, and tech sector growth potential of 81%. However, the city currently has a third of the digital jobs in Manchester. Leeds placed third, with slightly higher average property prices than Manchester (£171,052), but the second highest tech sector growth potential (92%) of any of the regional tech hubs.

Although London has established itself as one of the world’s top tech capitals, average house prices (£481,345) are three times higher than in Manchester and four times higher than in Glasgow. As a result, London only ranks 19th, with the capital vulnerable to a mass exodus of digital talent to the thriving regional tech hubs, where business costs are cheaper and housing is considerably more affordable.

Last year, digital tech investment in the UK reached almost £7 billion, turnover of the UK digital tech industries was £170 billion and there are now more than 1.6 million digital tech jobs in the UK. The digital tech sector is booming and leading the way as Brexit is less than two years away.

The following table lists the top 20 regional tech hubs (including London) in the UK, ranked by a combination of highest number of digital jobs, highest digital tech sector growth potential and most affordable average house prices:

Location

No. of Digital Jobs*

Digital tech sector growth potential*

Average house price**

Total ranking points [1]

Manchester

62,653

85%

£161,611

22

Glasgow

25,992

81%

£119,487

24

Leeds

23,734

92%

£171,052

27

Liverpool

23,407

79%

£123,117

32

Nottingham

19,741

81%

£132,318

33

Edinburgh

25,109

92%

£229,357

33

Bristol

35,924

88%

£263,759

36

Cambridge

30,219

95%

£439,144

36

Sunderland

5,742

81%

£108,072

40

Dundee

3,571

86%

£117,082

41

Middlesbrough

6,970

79%

£110,309

42

Birmingham

36,802

67%

£168,651

43

Newcastle

20,290

76%

£154,553

45

Bournemouth

15,763

91%

£238,377

46

Sheffield

18,961

70%

£150,530

48

Reading

45,269

77%

£306,750

49

Brighton

12,614

92%

£354,430

49

Plymouth

6,404

84%

£169,471

49

London

300,169

78%

£481,345

50

Hull

6,914

70%

£104,155

50

Tech hub property prices

HouseSimple research revealed that the established tech hubs of Cambridge, Reading and Oxford - with more than 100,000 digital jobs between them - have seen some of the highest property price increases over the past five years of anywhere in the UK. Their booming tech economies have helped super-charge property prices; up more than 43% in Oxford and Cambridge, and almost 54% in Reading since 2012. That compares with a 31% average price increase for the UK over the same period.

The research also found that two of the emerging digital tech hubs Ipswich and Exeter, have seen the largest average property price rises over the past 12 months, of any of the 30 regional tech hubs, up 8.9% in Ipswich and 8.7% in Exeter, almost double the UK average.

Alex Gosling, CEO, online estate agents HouseSimple.com, comments: “Britain was described by Chancellor Philip Hammond as an "innovation powerhouse” and the digital tech sector is predicted to lead the way when we leave the EU.

The digital economy is expanding rapidly, creating new jobs and opportunities in cities across the UK. London has been the beacon for the digital tech sector in the UK, but the flame is starting to burn a little less brightly, as the high cost of living and unaffordable property prices has seen an exodus of tech workers and tech businesses.

With tech start-ups able to tap into a growing pool of highly skilled workers outside the capital, the regional tech hubs are thriving. In fact, according to the latest Tech Nation report, more than two thirds (68%) of total UK digital tech investment in 2016 was in regional clusters beyond London.

Regional tech hubs are set to boom over the next few years, as the local digital economies become more established. And the regions best placed to take advantage of the investment being pumped into the digital tech sector will be the ones that can offer not just the best job opportunities but also the best quality of life.”

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