17 Reasons To Invest In Bristol
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17 Reasons To Invest In Bristol

Background, Market Research

* Bristol is the eighth largest city in the UK with a population of around 430,000. The population of the wider area is around 1m, making it the sixth largest urban area in the UK.

* Bristol is regarded as the gateway to the south west region. It has the largest regional economy by far and the main centre for public administration and services.

* The city’s economy is growing briskly following the recession. Figures from Bristol Is Open (a joint venture between the local council and the University of Bristol) report that Bristol’s economic GVA has grown by 19% in the five years since the recession. It adds that the manufacturing sector has grown by 81% over the last five years and the financial sector by 11% in 2014 alone.

* A report from Grant Thornton ranks Bristol as fourth in England in its ‘high growth’ index, based on demographic and economic factors. Only Manchester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes ranked higher.

* According to the Centre for Cities it is the only big city in England and Wales outside of the capital that consistently performs above the national average on a range of economic indicators.

* The south west generally currently has the highest employment rate in the country at almost 80%.

* Bristol together with nearby Bath is the second largest centre in the UK (London first) for new and fast growing digital industries. Over 60,000 people in the area are estimated to be employed in the digital sector. (Figures from Tech City UK.)

* The city is the largest retail centre in the south west by far, attracting shoppers from all across the south west and from South Wales to the large Cribbs Causeway out of town shopping mall and to the sizable retail quarter in the city centre.

* Bristol Harbourside, the site of the original docks, has undergone extensive regeneration over the last 20 years and is now one of the most successful inner city regeneration projects. Part of the area now an established tourist attraction with museums, galleries, exhibitions, bars and restaurants.

* The city has earmarked a number of areas for economic growth over the next two decades in the expectation that many thousands of new jobs will be created. The Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone close to Temple Meads station is designed to attract up to 250 businesses and create 17,000 jobs over 25 years. Filton Enterprise Area on the site of Filton Airfield has been set up with the aim of creating 7,800 new jobs.

* There are very preliminary proposals to create a Great Western Cities economic powerhouse (similar to the Northern Powerhouse) where the economies of Bristol plus Newport and Cardiff in Wales would join together.

* Bristol is a major hub on the north-south west, London-South Wales rail network. Current services using 1970s trains are regarded as slow and unreliable but the line to London and South Wales is currently being electrified. When services start (now expected to be in 2017) Bristol will be within 78 minutes of London  – 27 minutes quicker than the current service – and potentially within commuting distance of the capital.

* Avonmouth docks is one of the UK’s largest seaports and a major employer – already employing 6,500 people. There are plans to develop a new deep sea container terminal here which would accommodate the world’s largest container ships.

* Bristol has a significant housing shortage, creating a high demand for accommodation. The local authority waiting list exceeds 10,000. A recent ITV News West Country report claims that there are at least five people competing for every rental home that becomes available.

* Rents in Bristol are significantly above the national average, and that of most regional cities, partly as the result of the shortage of property. Zoopla currently quotes average asking rents as follows: 1 bed £668 pcm. 2 bed £983 pcm. 3 bed £964 pcm. 4 bed £1,138 pcm. 5 bed £1,288 pcm.

Local agents report that in central locations of Bristol a one bed apartment will typically earn at least £700 a month, and a two bed apartment over £1,000 a month.

* The buoyant property market means that prices here are rising quickly, and at similar levels to the buoyant market in south east England. Latest figures from the Land Registry say that the average price in the City of Bristol is now £214,428, which was a 9.6% rise over the year.

* Bristol is a major student location, with high demand for student accommodation. There are over 50,000 students at four universities, plus two universities in nearby Bath which add to the demand. Both locations attract high levels of applications. Purpose built student accommodation developers are very active in Bristol, underlining the potential in the student accommodation market.

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