North-west cost of living

Preston leads the way in rapidly improving north-west for life quality

Looking across the Northern Powerhouse, the north-west is going from strength to strength as the standout place to be – should you invest in property there?

Preston, Liverpool and Manchester have all seen standout performances in this year’s PricewaterhouseCoopers Good Growth for Cities Guide 2019, building on their already solid reputations as promising places to invest. Across the north-west, vast improvements have been seen in many cities for the third year running in PwC’s index, beating many areas across the UK for a number of factors.

The scores are calculated by taking into consideration skills, new businesses, environment, work-life balance, income, health, jobs, income distribution, transport, house price to earnings ratio and owner occupation, with the different factors giving different weightings depending on current importance to the population.

Focus on Preston

Preston is the highest performing city in the north-west according to the PwC index, rising one place this year to 12th position. Last year, it was the most improved city in the UK with a 0.28 score increase after it saw a significant reduction in its unemployment levels combined with major improvements in work-life balance, health, transport and skills scores.

Building on this trend, the fact that it is now the top city in the north-west is a further boost to the area, which has benefited from increased local investment and regeneration in recent times, coupled with growing interest from investors looking to get into the city’s property market at the right time.

Focus on Manchester

Greater Manchester Combined Authority ranks third overall, while Manchester as a city is in the top 10 list for most improved with an increase of 0.08. Since the index began, Manchester’s index score has increased by an impressive 0.39, moving further away from the bottom of the list to surpass the national average.

Taken in its own list among the UK’s other combined authority, Greater Manchester scores above the UK average in eight out of 12 factors, including jobs, work-life balance and house price to earnings – all of which are fantastic indicators for property investors looking for lucrative opportunities. As more people move out of London in search of employment prospects in an area they can better afford to live and with more of a focus on home life, Manchester is one of the most obvious choices.

Focus on Liverpool

Liverpool is this year’s second most improved city after Bradford with a score increase of an impressive 0.13, and it has consistently improved over the past 11 years when it started with a score of just -0.42. It has seen vast improvements in skills, new businesses and jobs in particular.

The skills score for 16-24-year olds and 25-64-year olds has also drastically increased at a rate higher than the national average, as have housing affordability and falling carbon emissions.

As a combined authority, the Liverpool City Region, like Manchester, achieved higher than average scores for eight out of 12 categories, with transport, income distribution and the environment all doing particularly well. It is the biggest improver among the combined authorities.

Liverpool continually appears as one of the top places for buy-to-let investment in the UK, with some of the highest yields available as well competitive house prices and a thriving rental market.

Maintaining positive momentum

Adam Waller, PwC’s Manchester office senior partner, said: “It’s pleasing to see cities like Preston, Liverpool and Manchester continuing to make a positive impact within this years’ index which is testament to the vibrant and sustainable economy which is being created across the north-west.”

“Building and creating ongoing working relationships between business, Combined Authorities and LEP’s is vital to ensure that this positive momentum is maintained,” he added. “It’s essential that in order for the region to prosper post-Brexit we all need to ensure we play our part.”

See our latest investment opportunities in Preston, Manchester and Liverpool.

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