The North West is one of the UK’s biggest regions – with some of its biggest towns and cities including Manchester and Liverpool. What you might not know, however, is that it also has some of England’s cheapest investment property. This is our guide to the best places to invest in property in England’s North West.
There are lots of reasons for investing in the north-west: Cheap property is one of them. The average property price across the north-west is currently just £161,160, compared to the average national house price of £251,223. In some parts of the north-west, the average house price is only £85,500.
The north-west – made up mainly of Lancashire and Greater Manchester – is England’s third-largest region with a population of over 7.2 million. The population here is expected to grow by 3.4% by 2026, creating even more demand for housing.
The north-west contributes around £228,308 million to the UK's economy – that’s 9.5% of all UK GDP. That makes the north-west the largest UK economy outside London and the south-east.
There are some big projects that could help the north-west thrive in future: The Northern Powerhouse is a plan to link the economies of the northern towns and cities. The HS2 high-speed railway will provide a superfast train service to Birmingham and London. Northern Powerhouse Rail will speed up travel times between Liverpool, Manchester and Yorkshire.
The north-west is one of the best places in the UK for student property investors too. There are over 400,000 students in England’s north-west, with universities in Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Bolton.
While the north-west has plenty of bargain property, property investors will be glad to know there’s an opportunity to benefit from rising property values too. In times when house prices in parts of London and the south-east are falling, they’re still rising in much of the north-west – typically by 3% or more. In one north-west town, they’ve risen by 6.6% over the last year.
This report says that the north-west is one area where house prices are defying Brexit worries and are keeping on rising due to burgeoning demand and low supply.
The north-west scores highly when it comes to yields for buy to let landlords. According to Totally Money, six north-west postcodes are in the top 25 buy-to-let areas in the UK. One of them (Liverpool L1) offers the highest rental returns in the country – a huge 10%.
This report says that landlords in the north-west of England are earning the best rental returns on buy to let in the UK with average yields across the board of 6.2%.
Here’s our guide to property investment in the main towns and cities of the north-west.
Population: 545,500 (City of Manchester)
Average House Price: £179,506 (City of Manchester)
The City of Manchester is the commercial and economic heart of not only Greater Manchester but the whole north-west. Thousands of people work in well-paid sectors like finance, law, media and public services. It’s a fast-growing centre for tech businesses too.
Manchester is also one of Europe’s largest university cities (around 100,000 students) and a hotspot for culture, leisure and retail.
Yields, based on the M1 postcode, are a strong 5% but a student property investment could offer much more.
Average House Price: £136,517
Liverpool is world-famous for music and football but it’s also a major industrial and commercial city with chemicals, food processing, business and financial services, retail, motor manufacturing and a major port.
There’s been massive regeneration over the last two decades and more is planned. The port is being expanded and a new cruise ship terminal is being built which will help boost Liverpool’s growing tourist trade.
Under development at the moment is the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, designed to develop the life sciences, innovation and higher education sectors and bring more jobs. The Baltic Triangle is emerging as one of the top locations in the north-west for tech. businesses and city living.
Liverpool has some of the best rental yields in the UK: L1, L2, L3, L4, L6 and L11 all offer yields between 7-10%.
Average House Price: £118,345
The one-time mill town of Blackburn is now a centre for logistics, distribution and light manufacturing with many large business parks taking advantage of its location right on the M65 motorway.
Blackburn is a cheap property hotspot, but prices rose 4.8% last year according to HM Land Registry figures.
Blackburn yields in, based on the BB1 postcode, start at 4%.
Average House Price: £109,051
Blackpool is a famous seaside resort, known for attractions such as Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool trams and Blackpool beach. It’s also a cheap property hotspot so good for bargain investors offering budget buy to lets and house shares. Blackpool gets 18 million tourist visits a year so there are also opportunities for property investors for short term Airbnb type letting and holiday lets.
Blackpool is another high yielding town with the FY2, FY3 and FY4 Fylde area postcodes offering 6% yield and FY1 offering 7%.
Average House Price: £83,556
Burnley is a former textile town whose main industries are now light manufacturing and services. The nearby M65 motorway provides fast access to the rest of Lancashire and a newly reopened railway link provides direct trains to Manchester Victoria.
Burnley is THE cheapest place to buy an investment property in England, and one of the very few places left where most property costs under £100,000.
Yields in Burnley, based on the BB9 and BB10 postcodes, are 4-5%.
Average House Price: £188,956
Bury’s claims to fame include Britain’s biggest regular market (around 400 stalls) and being the home to Bury black pudding.
The northern parts of Bury like Ramsbottom and Tottington are in semi-rural Lancashire. Southern districts like Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich are popular with Manchester commuters thanks to the Metrolink tram service into Manchester city centre.
Reflecting Bury’s closeness to Manchester, Bury house prices rose 5.8% over the last year, while yields in the commuter belt (M25 postcode) are at least 4%.
Average House Price: £137,471
Oldham has great transport links being right by the M60, M62 and A627(M) and frequent Metrolink tram services run through Oldham districts into Manchester city centre. Places like Chadderton, Royton and Shaw are popular residential areas for commuters. There’s also a £350m regeneration plan for Oldham town centre.
Oldham house prices rose 4.1% last year. Property investors could expect a 5% yield in OL1 and 4% further out.
Average House Price: £127,323
Preston is the county town of Lancashire. The town became the City of Preston in 2002 and has since been voted the UK’s most improved city.
Modern manufacturing and engineering are mainstays of the Preston economy, helping to support the demand for housing. Preston also has a large student accommodation market with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) having 33,000 students.
Yields in the PR1 postcode are upwards of 7%.
Average House Price: £141,975
Rochdale has seen much regeneration in recent years, including opening up of a smart waterfront area alongside the River Roch. But Rochdale’s real plus points for investors are its excellent transport links making it a commuter hotspot. Rochdale is on the Metrolink tram network, has five fast trains an hour into Manchester Victoria and is right on the M62. The huge Kingsway Business Park provides lots of jobs for locals too.
Rochdale is the north west’s property price hotspot, with prices here rising 6.6% last year.
Rochdale yields are in the 3.5%–4.5% region.
Average House Price: £131,793
St. Helens is officially part of the Liverpool Urban Area, and it has strong links with Liverpool and Merseyside. The main employment is in manufacturing, public services and distribution taking advantage of proximity to the M62 and M6 motorways. St. Helens Council have a multi-million-pound regeneration plan for the town centre.
St. Helens yields based on WA9, WA10 and WA11 are around 4-5%.
Average House Price: £166,216
Salford, more correctly known as the City of Salford, immediately adjoins the City of Manchester and benefits from Manchester’s booming economy. Property investment opportunities in Salford include city living apartments, student property investments and cheap buy to lets. Salford Quays and Media City, where the BBC is located, is another fast-expanding property investment location.
Salford is another north-west property price hotspot – house prices rose 5.9% here last year.
Investors can expect Salford yields to be around 5%.
Average House Price: £230,347
Stockport is just to the south of Manchester city centre (10 minutes by train from Manchester Piccadilly). Stockport has its own town centre, which is benefitting from a programme of regeneration, and its own local industries and employment. Stockport is also a popular residential area for Manchester commuters, and also good for family buy to lets.
Stockport overall is Greater Manchester’s second most expensive borough so yields are around 3-4%.
Average House Price: £195,217
Warrington, halfway between Manchester and Liverpool, benefits from a strategic location at the junction of the M6 and M62 and is right on the West Coast main railway line. As a one-time new town, it has been one of the north west’s fastest-growing towns – and fastest-growing economies – in recent years.
Warrington is a major centre for business parks and distribution. Omega by the M62 is a scheme to develop Europe’s largest business park. A new railway station Warrington West has been built here making Warrington even better for commuters.
Yields in Warrington, based on the WA1 postcode, are 4% plus.
Average House Price: £143,469
Widnes in Halton Borough is an industrial town, with an economy based on manufacturing and the chemicals industry. A new bridge, the Mersey Gateway Bridge, across the River Mersey has improved connections with Runcorn and Cheshire and should help to boost the economy.
Widnes property prices rose 3.1% last year and investors could expect a 4% annual return (WA8 postcode).
Average House Price: £137,485
Known for the famous Wigan Pier (the world’s only pier of its type!) Wigan sits almost exactly between Manchester and Liverpool but is part of Greater Manchester. Wigan is also famous for the Kraft Heinz food processing factory, the largest of its kind in Europe, which supports the local economy.
Wigan currently is the cheapest part of Greater Manchester (just) so it could be an up-and-coming property location which could benefit from rising Manchester property prices.
Wigan is another of the north west’s high yielding areas with the WN1 postcode offering 5-6% yield and the other Wigan postcodes around 4%.