With the UK set to part ways with the EU at the end of March, it's going to be an interesting year for any number of sectors, housing included.
Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest, says: "Nobody can ever see what the future holds - that's the case regardless of Brexit. As such, looking ahead to likely investment hotspots is a case of examining the underlying market fundamentals. For 2019, that means cities with youthful populations and strong trends for city centre living. The UK's rental sector is still growing, so 2019's hotspots will be those areas in which populations are expanding rapidly, and where employment prospects are sound."
The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis and is falling further and further behind each year in terms of delivering the number of homes that our population needs. The 13,000 new homes mentioned in this week's Budget are a mere drop in the ocean. Combined with the rapid rise in popularity of city centre living, the shortage of housing is creating pockets of extreme demand in some of the UK's regional metropolises. As such, the Surrenden Invest team has done some number crunching (with a little help from data from the Office for National Statistics and Zoopla) to see which hotspots are worth keeping a close eye on over the year ahead.
2019 property investment hotspots
2018 population: 1,147,300
2041 projected population: 1,313,300
Property price growth over past five years: 29.46%
Housing development to watch: Westminster Works
With a 14.5% population increase on the cards between now and 2041, Birmingham tops the list of 2019 hotspots. The city has a young population compared to the country as a whole, with its five university campuses attracting young people with a thirst for knowledge. The city has the sixth highest graduate retention rate of any UK city, and the third largest inflow of graduates with no prior connection to the city.
This 65,000-strong student talent pool provides Birmingham with a vast pipeline of future workers and entrepreneurs. It also means that stylish homes in city centre locations are, and will continue to be, in hot demand.
2018 population: 553,500
2041 projected population: 631,500
Property price growth over past five years: 30.60%
Housing development to watch: Ancoats Gardens
Manchester is on track to experience a 14.1% population increase between 2018 and 2041, meaning it will be snapping at Birmingham's heels in terms of growth. The city has already risen up the ranks in recent years, making it onto IBM's list of top ten global destinations for foreign direct investment in 2017 (as part of the Manchester-Liverpool metropolitan region).
Manchester benefits from a steady influx of bright, enthusiastic young people. The city is second only to London in terms of its graduate returners (at 58%), as well as its inflow of graduates with no prior connection to the city. Businesses are doing much to harness this talent; Amazon, for example, chose Manchester as the site of its first Amazon Academy, running a series of programmes and events designed to help hundreds of small, local businesses. Future residential developments in the city centre will need to serve these entrepreneurial young professionals.
2018 population: 8,965,600
2041 projected population: 10,346,000
Property price growth over past five years: 32.36%
Housing development to watch: Brook House
London leads the UK in many respects, as a world-renowned centre for finance, business, education, tourism and more. Over the next 25 years or so, its population is projected to increase by 15.4%, driving demand for housing across the capital. From sleek, centrally located apartments to sprawling houses in the suburbs, London offers every kind of property imaginable, providing homes for workers from across the UK and the globe.
More than 300 languages are currently spoken in London's schools, highlighting the diversity of the capital's future workforce. The city attracts some of the best and brightest as a result of its vast range of employment opportunities and is home to a huge rental population. According to PWC, 60% of Londoners will rent their homes by 2025, as the city's young (and not so young) professionals rent in ever greater numbers.
2018 population: 495,300
2041 projected population: 554,500
Property price growth over past five years: 24.67%
Housing development to watch: The Tannery
Liverpool is on track to experience a population increase of 12.0% between now and 2014, as the city continues to attract talented young people as a result of its thriving service sector, healthcare sector and knowledge economy. The city's extensive cultural offering is also a draw, from its plentiful museums and art galleries to its excellent restaurants and lively music scene.
42% of Liverpool's population is below the age of 30, compared with 37% nationally. This youthful population is driving forward Liverpool's reputation as an innovative, entrepreneurial city. It is also one of the main forces behind the extensive regeneration that the city is experiencing, while the growing trend for city centre living is creating new hotspots close to key attractions and amenities.
Newcastle upon Tyne
2018 population: 297,400
2041 projected population: 318,100
Property price growth over past five years: 23.70%
Housing development to watch: Hadrian's Tower
Newcastle's city centre population has grown rapidly since the turn of the century. According to Centre for Cities, Newcastle city centre enjoyed population growth of 112% between 2002 and 2015. The massive jump in demand for city centre living is creating a hotbed of innovation within the housing sector, as developments seek to woo the bright young things who have flocked to the city for work and want prime accommodation in the heart of Newcastle.
With a superb social scene and a thriving urban renaissance well underway, Newcastle's attractions to ambitious young professionals are plenty. It also has a rapidly growing student body as a result of its superb universities. Student numbers at Newcastle University have shot up by over 70% since 2000, while Northumbria University has enjoyed a student body increase in excess of 114% over the same period. With nearly 50,000 students in total, a full sixth of the city's population is engaged in study, creating a uniquely youthful atmosphere as Newcastle grows its own talent for the future.
Jonathan concludes: "Each of these cities has its own distinctive culture, which is drawing in young people who will ultimately contribute to the future success of that city. Those working in the housing sector need to respond accordingly, delivering high quality homes in central areas, in order to meet the demand that these young people are driving."