1.The population of the city of Sheffield is 560,000, although the population of the greater Sheffield area, including nearby Rotherham, is 1.5m – making the area one of the UK’s largest urban areas.
Official forecasts suggest the city population will grow to 633,000 by 2037.
2.Sheffield is the focus of the Sheffield City Region which extends south to Barnsley and also includes part of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and includes the local authorities of Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire and Rotherham as well as Sheffield.
Sheffield City Region has an economy estimated to be worth £28bn and has a policy aimed firmly at generating growth and jobs. The region’s Growth Plan sets out plans to create 70,000 new private sector jobs and 6,000 new businesses over the next decade.
3.Sheffield has agreed a city devolution deal with the government – the second city to do so after Manchester. An elected mayor will take office in 2017 and the nine local authorities involved will be given extra finance to take responsibility for transport, spatial planning and skills development.
The agreement is particularly significant as the local authorities involved are historically mainly Labour controlled.
4.Traditionally the economy was based on steelmaking and other manufacturing. This is still present, although has diversified in the last couple of decades to focus on services as elsewhere.
Prior to the recession the economy here enjoyed around 5% annual growth, more than anywhere else in Yorkshire and the Humber.
5.Sheffield is home to an Enterprise Zone known based on several sites on the M1 corridor around Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. The zone is focussed on encouraging modern manufacturing, creative and digital industries, healthcare technologies, low carbon and environmental goods and services.
The Enterprise Zone is projected to attract 12,600 jobs by 2015, and potentially up to 20,000 jobs amongst 400 businesses.
6.Sheffield ranks highly for innovation. According to the Centre for Cities Sheffield is in the top ten cities in the UK (no.9) for patents granted per 100,000 inhabitants. However, according to the same report it ranks as one of the lowest cities for new business start ups.
7.Sheffield is very well connected by road (being adjacent to the M1 motorway) and rail. It will benefit from electrification of the Midland Main Line to improve services to London and beyond by 2023, and also from track improvements to decrease journey times to Manchester.
8.Sheffield will be a stop on the future HS2 high speed rail network between London, Birmingham and Leeds. It will then be within 70 minutes travelling time of London, 21 minutes of Birmingham and 12 minutes of Leeds.
9.The government is undertaking a feasibility study into improving trans-Pennine road links between Sheffield and Manchester. The current road links are substandard and heavily congested. Any future road improvements could include a motorway standard road and a tunnel, potentially halving the journey time between the two cities.
10.Sheffield is served by the currently small and difficult to reach Doncaster Sheffield Airport close to Doncaster. However, a new link road, due to open in January 2016, will connect Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the M18 motorway, reducing the journey time from Sheffield city centre from 40 to 25 minutes and a number of new airline services are being introduced in summer 2016.
11.Sheffield is a major student city, which underpins the demand for housing. There are two large universities and the largest, the University of Sheffield, is reported to be planning further expansion. Sheffield has a high student population with 60,000 students – almost a fifth of adult residents of the city centre are students.
It is a particularly attractive city to the increasingly important Chinese student population. According to HESA the number of Chinese students in Sheffield has increased by around 148% in the last five years. According to Oxford Economics nearly half of all overseas students in Sheffield are of Chinese descent.
12.Sheffield has experienced particularly high levels of immigration over the last few years, further adding to the demand for housing. Figures from the Migration Observatory suggest 50,000 immigrants have arrived here in the period 2011-14 – around one in ten of all those arriving in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.
13.Sheffield currently as some of the lowest priced housing in the country. According to the Land Registry the current average sales price is £125,832, compared to the national average of £186,553.
However, property in Sheffield itself is in line with the Yorkshire and Humberside average and more expensive (around 30% more expensive) than the cheapest parts of South Yorkshire. For example, average sales price Barnsley £88,213, Doncaster £95,738.
14.Sheffield house prices rose 6.2% last year, according to figures from Hometrack – some of the highest growth anywhere outside London and the South East. However they are still currently below their 2007 peak.
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