London has traditionally attracted the highest numbers of new residents seeking accommodation, both to purchase and to rent, and this has of course led to its elevated house prices.
However, there are a number of property hotspots now growing up outside the capital, which offer excellentaccess to jobs and transport links and above all a great quality of life.
Dubbed ‘Silicon Fen’ Cambridge is a hub for software and scientific research companies. It is the perfect location for these companies, as over 40% of the local population has a degree. The presence of these science firms, thirty-one local colleges and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, keeps rents high. Therefore the city remains attractive for both those who wish to buy and settle there for work, and those seeking an investment property.
A survey in early 2014 crowned Harrogate the happiest place to live in the UK and with housing prices £37,000 higher than the national average it is a definite property hotspot. Surrounded by stunning countryside, and with a community feel found usually in much smaller towns, Harrogate is renowned for its safety, its range of recreational activities and its neighbourliness.
As local estate agent Marshall Vizard points out Watford has a huge amount of potential and this is reflected in the buoyancy of the local housing market. Watford is close enough to London for an easy commute and boasts beautiful historic houses and villages. Coupled with its wide range of shopping, nightlife and leisure activities, the town has a relaxed yet vibrant vibe. Watford has already undergone extensive transformation and there is a further £1.5bn investment programme in play, including improved rail links, which will further increase theviability of the area.
The BBC’s recent relocation to Salford has only added to the existing vibrancy of the city. With the doubling in size of the Metrolink tram service, which is due for completion in 2015, a new generation of commuter hotspots will spring up. The city centre will become much more accessible from some of the existing suburbs, including Ashton-under-Lyne and Droylsden.
With excellent rail connectivity to both Paddington and Waterloo stations, Wokingham offers a pleasant escape from the capital without a long and difficult commute.
Wokingham often appears in lists of the ten best places to live in the UK, with people citing the quality of its schools and its low crime rates. While the shopping centre has never been one of the strengths of the town, the current investment in regeneration is going to have a significant impact on improving the area. The local borough council has announced plans for over 10,000 new residents moving into Wokingham over the coming years, and consequently there is substantial new building of both houses and services taking place. All of which indicates a steady increase in house pricing and demand over the next few years.
Exeter has a strong economy, excellent schools and a prestigious university. In recent years it has also seen the arrival of some major employers to the area including the Met Office. The city also has excellent rail links to London. This has led to a buoyant housing market for both residential and buy-to-let properties.
Compared to its near neighbour Plymouth there is a marked difference between the two cities. Between April 2007 and January 2012 the average selling price of properties in Exeter was up 16 per cent, while Plymouth saw an 11 per cent drop.
Surrounded by natural beauty, and with nearby beaches and proximity to Dartmoor National Park, Exeter looks set to remain a property hotspot.