Property industry

Levelling up: How could investment zones impact regional house prices?

New investment zones announced by the government could push up regional house prices, increase rental demand and entice property investors.

In the Spring Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged to introduce 12 new investment zones across the country. He likened these to “12 potential Canary Wharfs”, a nod to the thriving economic area in London.

Local authorities are being invited to apply for £80m worth of funding towards the development of an investment hub of this scale, as well as enabling the area to retain local taxes.

Areas the Chancellor honed in on for this included Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool, Teesside, South Yorkshire, the West Midlands, East Midlands and north east. Additionally, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester will receive new multi-year devolution funding deals, in addition to being allowed to retain business rates.

Levelling up the north and Midlands

The levelling-up agenda is playing a key part in ensuring higher levels of investment are centred away from London and the south east. Government-backed regeneration projects are improving the economies and landscapes of multiple locations across the country.

The creation of these new investment zones will likely impact the local areas in this way, driving business investment and levelling up the locations. These proposals are also expected to boost regional housing markets.

Any investment away from the capital will bring people, jobs, interest and ultimately housing to these areas. This could boost some already strongly performing housing markets, pushing demand and regional house prices up.

Businesses and professionals moving away from London

In recent years, there has been a rise in businesses and professionals moving out of the capital to regional areas across the north of England and Midlands. This trend will likely gain further momentum with the creation of new investment zones in thriving regional areas.

The proposals and funding for the new investment zones have an aim to improve skills and local infrastructure clustered around universities and research institutions. The zones are set to focus on creative, technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and green sectors. Some of these industries have traditionally operated in London.

Across the UK, there are 188,812 tech firms with payrolls, and 44,831 of those reside in London, according to Cornerstone Tax. However, the surging rental prices of 9.1% in the capital are expected to prove too expensive for many workers to stay, pushing them further north to escape the increasing cost of living.

David Hannah, group chairman of the advisory firm, says: “It is no surprise that renters and homeowners are fleeing from the South, especially with many choosing to move further North due to the overwhelmingly cheaper cost of housing.

“More than a third of tenants from London moved to the Midlands or North, up from 27 per cent in 2019 and above the 13 per cent of homeowners moving to the same regions.”

Property investors following suit

David Hannah also claims that the announcement of the investment zones could already be starting to drive up regional house prices in the north and Midlands.

These locations will likely be appealing to many property investors as more may choose to invest in these cities and regions in the coming years. This could allow them to reap the rewards of long-term capital appreciation and strong rental yields.

Areas that are having long-term urban regeneration projects often see house prices increase over time. This kind of regeneration allows areas to be transformed into somewhere that a greater number of people want to live. As a result, more businesses often want to be located there, in addition to more tenants wanting to move and more investors want to buy there.

These new investment zones could impact property investment prospects in the years and decades to come. Focusing on an area that’s the target of major regeneration can be an effective way of planning and selecting your next property investment opportunity.

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