Once a small town, Preston has grown and evolved throughout time, gaining city status back in 2002. The city is ever-growing and continues to have a strong reputation as an attractive place not only to live and work but also invest.
The current population of Preston is over 140,000 and as the expansion of the city continues to pour in through investment and developments, there’s no doubt the population will continue to grow.
With the optimism that surrounds the city, Preston hopes to position itself as the third most popular destination in the North West, joining Manchester and Liverpool as strong contenders for investment and city living.
Investors and residents will have much to look forward to over the next few years as Preston and surrounding areas within Central Lancashire will enjoy an increase of £1 billion to the local economy through future investments.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to any property investor that the North of England is thriving in terms of property and regeneration and Preston is no exception. Despite not being as in-demand as other cities in the North West such as Liverpool and Manchester, Preston is starting to make its own mark on the world of property investment and buy-to-let.
High yields are associated with the Preston property market and for investors interested in taking advantage of these yields, there are a number of developments to choose from. These high yields have come as a result from an increase in property prices which has been impacted by the growth of investment that’s being put into the North West.
Preston’s location is one to be desired and many residents and investors are starting to take notice. Accessible by many forms of transport from main motorways to popular train lines, Preston also neighbours popular destinations such as Manchester and the Lake District.
So what kind of yield could you see from Preston? Depending on the postcode you target, you could see yields as high as 7.5% with the lowest yield coming in around 3.4%.
The city of Preston is home to one of the largest universities; The University of Central Lancashire, a.k.a UCLan which welcomes 33,000 full and part-time students through its doors.
Further development and investment into the university are soon to be underway, with one of the latest projects being a new 60m Student Centre and Civic Square which is set to be complete in 2020 and will provide students, staff and the general public a new space for learning and leisure.
Aside from the on-site university campus there are various areas that have become a haven for student living. Some notable places include Ashton, Fulwood and Plunginton. Investors may also find opportunities from the other two universities in the surrounding area; Lancaster University and Edge Hill.
What’s reassuring for student property investors is that a confident 37% of students choose to continue their studies in Preston, with many then choosing to live and work within the city once they’ve graduated.
When it comes to student accommodation, property investments in Preston are in high demand, as impressive as future investments appear to be, there is a housing shortage with only 17% of students having access to student accommodation. That said, due to the high demand for accommodation it means investors can feel confident their investments are secure.
This also goes for graduates and young professionals in the surrounding areas that may have studied outside of Preston but are looking for better opportunities within the city’s centre.
Student life in the City of Preston is diverse and full of energy with standout selling points, such as being awarded (and retained) it’s Purple Flag status for the safety of the city’s nightlife and not to mention that Preston was named the best city to live and work in the North West by the Good Growth for Cities Index in 2016.
The high level of investment into this city has had a positive knock-on effect on Preston’s property market, especially for investors looking for their next portfolio item. Preston has seen house prices increase over the past couple of years with average property prices across the Preston coming in at £493,226.
Although Preston’s average rental prices are 7.5% below the London average price, you could still create a health buy-to-let investment with average rents for 3-bedroom homes at £846pcm and 5-bedroom homes valued at £1,469 pcm.
Preston is no stranger to a bustling high street and is home to two large shopping complexes; Fishergate Shopping Centre and St George’s Shopping Centre and one larger retail park; Deepdale Retail Park.
Residents and tourists can literally shop-til-they drop, with over 100’s of shops and restaurants to pick from and so investing in near-by accommodation would peak any renters interests.
The popularity and scale of these shopping centres is important as its continued to bring growth into the city by expanding upon these retail outlets with modern cinemas, restaurants and more shopping choices.
Aside from shopping centres, Preston has a lot to shout about and with a range of attractions in the area, more and more people are looking to visit Preston and Lancashire. Figures released from 2017 show that Lancashire tourism numbers are rising, which has improved the economy growth and reputation of the city.
One important factor that keeps everyone connected to Preston is transport. There appears to be no competition when it comes to the level of standard the North West has to offer investors and residents in terms of rail and road access as well as its proximity to two large international airports.
Access into the city couldn’t be easier and this is clearly apparent to the businesses large and small that are proudly making Preston their new home. With competitive salaries, affordable office spaces and a range of skills entering the city, an increasing number of people within an hour’s drive of Preston’s centre are reaping the rewards of working and living within such a vibrant city.
Geographically, Preston benefits from several main motorways; M6, M61, M65 and M55, making Preston extremely easy to get to and as you could travel from Manchester to Preston within a hour, commuting back and forth to other major cities makes Preston a hotspot for young professionals and those looking to relocate to the area.
For those looking to visit Preston by train, they can easily do so from a range of starting destinations. London sits just two hours away from Preston and there is even a direct links to Edinburgh.
Future investments in the city are bright with Preston being the only city in the North West to receive an invite to submit a proposal for The City Deal which was signed in 2013 and through an impressive £434 million of investment.
The deal intends to improve and expand the transport infrastructure throughout Preston and South Ribble which aims to create up to 20,000 more jobs and over 17,000 new homes as well as upgrading existing housing.
The City Deal has high hopes its investment will improve on congested traffic areas, so more business and residents can enter and live within the city and travel to the surrounding areas with ease.
Preston city centre, North West Preston, North East Preston and Penwortham and Lostock Hall are just a few named key areas which will be improved as part of the City Deal. Enhancements to the city centre aims to update and modernise the bus station and there are also plans for an exciting Youth Zone which will attract students and young adults throughout the city.
Aside from The City Deal already in place for Preston, the city centre is also benefiting from a number of developments, suitably named Preston City Centre Plan, which has ambitious plans for the city by 2026.
The plan aims to address certain issues within the city centre such as infrastructure, job opportunities, housing developments, leisure activities and more, which will effectively improve the accessibility into the city as well as transforming and modernising the city to be a place where people can work, live and be safe and secure.
With students turning into permanent residents of the city due to its regeneration projects, it’s clear to see that the city is turning into an exciting place to live and study, driving up the demand for property investment in Preston.
Although Preston boats over 30,000 students already into its education system, a new university campus is set to be developed in line with UCLan’s status and become one of the UK’s largest universities.
The development is set to include an £30 million+ Engineering Innovation Centre, giving students more learning and career opportunities as it will provide learners and staff with more space, tools and technology to teach and grow.
With a long list of investment and developments that continue to expand the growth, economy and population of Preston, it’s clear that there will be many opportunities for investors to get in on the action.
Preston City Council have confirmed that a total of £434 million of new investment is intended for Preston and South Ribble which will create around 20,000 new job opportunities as well as 17,420 new homes and will create a £1 billion growth over the next ten years.
With that in mind, if you’re not sure where your next property investment should be, taking advantage of what Preston has to offer now could only benefit you going forward.
With everything that’s going on in Preston, Investors should jump at the chance to purchase property now before prices continue to increase. As average prices in Preston are considered reasonable for residents and investors, rental opportunities could provide good yields.
Coverage: City Centre, Avenham, Broadgate, Deepdale, Fishwick, St. Matthew's, Penwortham.
Currently the living situation in the city centre of Preston is somewhat limited; however with future developments underway this all could change in the future. Residents may also be more likely to rent in the city centre due to affordability.
Currently, you could purchase a city centre property for an average price of £110,896 with potential rental yields of 7%-7.5%. Although semi-detached houses had the most sales, Terraced houses and flats still proved valuable with average property values coming in at just over £90,000.
Coverage: Ashton On Ribble, Brookfield, Cadley, Fulwood, Grimsargh, Haighton, Ingol, Larches, Lea, Ribbleton, Riversway, Sharoe Green, Tanterton.
A hub for buy-to-let investors; the PR2 area, which compromises of Ashton on Ribble, is a combination of residential and commercial property, making it a great location for young professionals who want to live close by to work but not far from the city either.
Average house prices in PR2 are around £161,221 with average yields reaching around 5.5%. The average value of Flats over the last 12 months in PR2 are around £105,041 making them quite an affordable investment for an individual who may be looking for a buy-to-let investment.
Coverage: Southport, Banks, Churchtown, Crossens, Marshside.
If you’re after a property with a view, PR9 (Southport) is seen as quite an affluent area with properties selling as high as £550,000 on some streets.
According to Zoopla, across all property types, you’ll find average property prices to be around £207,055 which could prove to be a healthy investment, especially due to the coastal environment. Depending on the number of rooms in your property, average rental yields come in around 4.2% or higher.
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Published: 21 August 2018Winckley House is our latest residential development coming to the centre of Preston. Winckley House is a renovation of an office block which is set to bring 76 high specification studio, one and two-bedroom apartments to the city.