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London Property Investments
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People looking at the top places to invest in London will find the hottest regeneration areas for capital growth where the transport links are good and property prices still affordable. The greatest demand for London property investments is where everyday people can afford. Sometimes that means opening up the search to include London's best commuter towns. Infrastructure changes boosts rentals too and higher yields can often be achieved than upcoming areas of London.
London Property Market
London Property Investment Opportunities
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London has a wealth of history and iconic landmarks. Tourists can experience just about anything in London, and as the saying goes 'when you are tired of London, you are tired of life'.
Many tourists come to London to experience the finer things in life. From sipping cocktails in the Shard to dining at one of London’s many Michelin starred restaurants, there are plenty of luxurious things to do.
Here we have picked some of the best once in a lifetime activities to do in London that will make your visit memorable. Click on the arrow to find out what luxury activities you can do in London =>
Britain’s capital is full of activities for those on all budgets. If someone is visiting for the first time, they might have saved up some money to make the trip special and splash out on some luxurious activities. Here are just a few of the unique experiences you can find in London if budget is not a constraint.
Luxury Experiences in London
- Rolls Royce Rental
- Drink cocktails in the Shard
- London Eye Champagne Tasting Capsule
- Get an expensive haircut
- Enjoy London from the skies with a private helicopter tour
- Harrods for shopping
- Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental
- Private tours of the Historic Royal Palaces
Rolls Royce Rental
If you want to be picked up from the airport, there is no better way than to rent a Rolls Royce and driver, who will pick show you the sights of London in style for £120 per hour. The Rolls Royce is a quintessentially British luxury automobile and all the amenities inside will reflect that, including champagne and water on tap, free wi-fi, electronic devices, massage chairs and charging sockets for mobile phones.
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Drink cocktails in the Shard
The Shard at London Bridge offers panoramic views of London and there are six restaurants and bars from which you can enjoy them. The Shard is probably the most well-known location for those who want to enjoy a cocktail or two and take in the stunning views of London. All the bars and restaurants are relatively formal, and you will have to adhere to a dress code before you are accepted in (no trainers).
London Eye Champagne Tasting Capsule
Offering a 360-degree view of London is the London Eye. It’s a popular tourist attraction and can get very busy over the holiday season. If you do not want the view blocked by other tourists, there is the possibility to hire out your very own capsule for one hour (including two full rotations). Here a wine specialist will guide you through a range of beverages and you can enjoy some tasters on the side as well.
Get an expensive haircut
When you visit London, getting a haircut is probably not at the top of the priority list. If you want to leave London looking a million dollars, you can pay a visit to famous BAFTA Awards hair stylist Stuart Phillips’ salon. If you book the VIP service, you can get a posh new look and the price also includes products especially picked to suit your hair type. Not only that, alongside the haircut their VIP package also offers a bespoke service where they organise anything for you, from flights to private jets to hotel accommodation.
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Enjoy London from the skies with a private helicopter tour
Perhaps you have seen London from the ground and want to get an aerial view of the capital. The London Helicopter Company provides tours of London from helicopter at over 1,000 feet. You can book a whole helicopter for yourself and up to six people for £1,500 or buy seats individually for £300 for a 20-minute tour of the capital.
Although it is pricey for such a short time, you will get to see the city and landmarks such as including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Shard and the Tower of London from a whole new perspective and if you book the whole helicopter it would be a valuable experience shared between family members or friends.
Harrods for shopping
Harrods is the epitome of luxury shopping in Britain. It is located on the glitzy Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, which is home to many 5-star hotels and top restaurants.
The department store occupies a 5-acre site and has 330 departments. It is the largest department store in Europe and even has its own post code.
For those who want to explore the prestige of Harrods, they offer a bespoke personal shopping experience in the By Appointment department where you will be assigned your own personal shopper who will cater to your every need. You can even be chauffeured around in London in a Rolls Royce drinking champagne if you so choose.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental
At the end of the day, why not refuel at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental? Served in the afternoon and evening, Heston Blumenthal creates modern dishes inspired by historic British gastronomy.
The Mandarin Oriental boasts picture perfect views over Hyde Park and the restaurant itself boasts contemporary and innovative décor. It’s an ideal spot to unwind and enjoy some modern British cuisine whilst taking in the grandeur of one of London’s Royal Parks.
Private tours of the Historic Royal Palaces
Those who are interested in the rich history of Britain can take part in exclusive tours of the Royal Palaces. An opportunity to be given a private 90-minute tour of the Tower of London which culminates in the Ceremony of the Keys is priced at £700 + VAT for up to 20 guests.
For those choosing to invest in London, there are some developments in exclusive locations close to iconic landmarks worth considering. For example, Chancery Quarters is located on Chancery Lane, a street which forms the western boundary of the City of London that has historic links with the legal profession. Chancery Lane is a short journey from London’s landmarks and there are several places of interest on the street itself. For example, the Silver Vaults selling the largest collection of silver in the world is also located on the lane, as is the Maughan Library (King’s College London’s main university research library) and an air raid shelter that was converted into Kingsway telephone exchange. If you’re looking for an investment in an area soaked in history, Chancery Quarters would be a good choice.
There are so many luxury experiences to be had in London, these are just a few suggestions for that once-in-a-lifetime trip. With these popular experiences in mind, this would be an incentive for investors as demand is high. If you are searching for properties in London and it's surrounding areas, contact one of our experts today to discuss opportunities that are available.
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London Regeneration Opportunities to Invest in
Top places to invest in London for regeneration growth
Where can investors still buy property in London? Although much of London has been gentrified, there are still pockets that are undergoing significant regeneration, both north of the river and south of it.
Just south of the river lies Bermondsey, an area that has seen some regeneration and has been named as one of the best places to live in London in recent years. Some pockets have been overlooked until now so it is still possible to achieve capital growth. Similarly, although King's Cross is now unaffordable to most, Caledonian Road is nearby and regeneration has overspilled into that area.
Here, we have indentified areas that are still "up-and-coming" but have the potential to offer good levels of capital growth. These places in our opinion, are some of the top places to invest in London to capture the regeneration growth. Read on to find out more about the ever-changing face of London and its appeal to investors by clicking on the arrow =>
- Grosvenor Estate’s investment in Bermondsey
- Bermondsey’s rise in popularity
- Regeneration in Bermondsey
- King's Cross Regeneration
- Regeneration overspill to Caledonian Road
- Fringes of redeveloped areas are poised for growth
Property prices in London are not very affordable, and in recent years'investors have cast their eye on other cities or London commuter towns where the property market is easier to access.
There are pockets in London where you can still find affordable property, and the regeneration projects in place mean that it is possible to achieve good levels of capital growth. Here are a few of London’s hottest regeneration areas for capital growth and why we think that makes them some of the top places in London investment properties.
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Grosvenor Estate’s investment in Bermondsey
In 2015 the Duke of Westminster’s property company Grosvenor Estates put the prestigious buildings 65 Duke Street and 62 Green Street in Prime Central London’s most desirable areas - Belgravia and Mayfair. The owner would have been able to collect £3.2 million in rent per annum from the 25 luxury apartments. Grosvenor Estates used the funds generated from the sale to invest in the up and coming area of Bermondsey in South East London.
Grosvenor Estates is currently exploring regenerating other parts of London, and it has fixed its eye on Bermondsey. Grosvenor Estates has recently put in an application for a new development at Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory site. The aim is to create a mixture of residential and commercial space with 1350 new homes, a school and eateries. Although initially rejected by councilors in Southwark, Khan has decided to reconsider the proposal stating it “has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply”.
Bermondsey’s rise in popularity
It is no wonder Grosvenor Estates has selected Bermondsey; situated close to London Bridge and along the Thames in south east London it was originally an area where the processing of leather and hides was carried out during the industrial boom. Hence why some street names pay homage to its industrial past, such as Tanner Street.
Its proximity to the City of London, pleasant riverside location, warehouse style apartments and affordability compared to nearby areas has meant the area has undergone a significant amount of gentrification. In 2018 the Sunday Times named Bermondsey as the best place to live in London and it was listed as one of the best places to live in London again in 2019.
Regeneration in Bermondsey
Bermondsey has always had a rich history, but that is being built upon with all the regeneration that is taking place in the area. Places such as Vinegar Yard, a new street food market and open-air bar have sprung up by London Bridge station. Maltby Street Market opened in 2010, and derelict railway arches have been transformed into craft breweries. New small businesses have increased from 225 to 305 between 2010 and 2014. The wharves along the riverside have been converted to luxury flats and the Jubilee Line and Overground have connected the area with central London to the west and Canary Wharf to the east.
As the wharves have been mostly renovated to apartments, developers have been casting their eyes on other parts of Bermondsey. Factories and warehouse-style buildings are aesthetically pleasing and people are attracted to living in them as they represent the area’s historical past. Disused factories have been earmarked for redevelopment, especially around the Bermondsey Spa area.
Regeneration started in 2005 with Bermondsey Spa Gardens which underwent a £2 million makeover and reopened in 2006. Other projects include Bermondsey Square, a large mixed-use development. This included 76 apartments, 40,000 square feet of multi-let offices for creative use, a hotel, cinema and Sainsbury’s. London Square is developing a new destination that was once a tannery and home to food producer Crosse & Blackwell in Bermondsey. It will comprise 400 one, two, and three bedroom apartments, creative workspaces and garden squares.
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Regeneration north of the river Thames in London
Bermondsey is not the only area experiencing vast amounts of regeneration. Even though North London has typically experienced gentrification, there are still pockets that are currently undergoing it.
King's Cross Regeneration
Another area that has undergone extensive regeneration is King’s Cross. Post-war the area went into decline and by the 1980s it was infamous for prostitution and drug abuse. In the 1990s the government established the King’s Cross Partnership to fund regeneration projects in the area. Since then, King’s Cross has transformed into an area that is almost unrecognisable. Focal points of the regeneration include the creation of Coal Drops Yard, a new retail development designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick that houses high-end shops.
Coal Drops Yard won a RIBA architecture award as the judges appreciated the sensitive refurbishment of the original structures and the ‘kissing roofs’. RIBA praised the development and its clever combination of retail, commercial and business spaces, the curation of retail outlets and the effort to restore a complex set of arches and marshalling yards.
The regeneration has been sensitive and paid homage to the original landscape of King’s Cross, hence the name Coal Drops Yard which has its roots in the gas manufacturing works in the area, which was made from coal. The Gasholder guideframes have been a landmark in King’s Cross for 150 years, and the largest one – Gasholder No.8 has been refurbished and is now home to a park and event space. Three more gas holders have been re-erected around stunning new apartments.
One London property investment opportunity is in the Plimsoll building, a beautiful complex in King’s Cross that overlooks Regent’s Canal and Gasholder Park. The Plimsoll development was built when the regeneration of King’s X was underway, and investors can use the increased attractiveness of the area to their advantage. We have on offer a 10th floor apartment which boasts spectacular views, two double bedrooms, two modern bathrooms, open plan living area, fully fitted kitchen and balcony. Residents will benefit from the use of a 24-hour concierge, residents’ lounge, rooftop conservatory, courtyard garden and fitness suite. The apartment’s layout is ideal if it were to be let as a rental property. It boasts two bedrooms and two bathrooms, allowing each occupant maximum privacy and independence.
The asking price for the apartment is £1,275,000, which we believe is reasonable. Properties within the building were sold for a similar asking price in 2018 and the area is only becoming more and more sought after. Investors do not have to worry about immediately finding a tenant as the property is already occupied and the tenant intends to stay.
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Regeneration overspill to Caledonian Road
The regeneration is set to overspill north towards Caledonian Road.
Affectionately known as “The Cally”, Caledonian Road has a rich history and is well-connected with Caledonian Road Underground Station and Caledonian Road and Barnsbury on the Overground. Directly to the south is King’s Cross which is the best-connected interchange in London. As well as enjoying its own regeneration, Caledonian Road is expected to benefit from that of King’s Cross as well.
New projects include 400 Caledonian Road – a sustainable mixed-use development. It will comprise new homes, commercial space and courtyards. Buyers will also own a share of the management company and will be encouraged to express their views on the future of the scheme. Other developments include London Square Caledonian Road which consists of nine low-to mid-rise blocks in pastel coloured bricks.
Flats have balconies and underfloor heating, and the blocks have an onsite gym and 24-hour concierge. Situated just a four-minute walk from Caledonian Road underground station, living in London Square is an ideal choice for professionals working in central London. People have already bought apartments in the blocks, and many are long term residents of Caledonian Road who are noticing how rapidly the area is improving and wish to capitalise on the house price increases that are achievable.
One Touch Property sources buy to let investments in cities across the UK, and for those who are looking for high yield investments, we also offer hotel room investments and student property investments.
Fringes of redeveloped areas are poised for growth
Money is pouring into Bermondsey and Caledonian Road in Islington because they’re in convenient locations and were previously overlooked for regeneration.
Proximity to central transport hubs such as London Bridge and King’s Cross – which themselves have experienced a significant amount of regeneration – has in turn made these areas more attractive.
Whilst house prices are still modest compared to surrounding areas, now could be an ideal time to invest. Across all London boroughs, house building will fall short by 429,973 of projected need over the decade. 30 boroughs are on average, 21 years behind their target for house building. As this continues, demand is rising and therefore if you decide to invest now and start your property search you would be able to achieve the optimal balance of good occupancy levels and capital growth.
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Where are the best places for students to live in London? London is a large city with many varying neighbourhoods. Where you live will impact your university experience to an extent as you will want to choose an area you feel comfortable in and enjoy.
From Shoreditch to King's Cross, there are plenty of places in London with unique character that are ideal for students.
We explore why these areas in particular are good for students, from location to cultural offerings. Read on to find out why we think students will enjoy living in these areas by clicking on the green arrow below =>
Where you live in London as a student can impact the experience you have of studying in the city. Here are just a few popular choices with students today.
Beginning your studies in London can be overwhelming. The city is made up of 32 boroughs covering 607 square miles and home to almost 9 million people. There are 40 higher education institutions (excluding London branches of foreign universities) educating over 400,000 students. It goes without saying that there will be a lot of choice when it comes to choosing your university institution and accommodation.
Universities in London tend to have their campuses in the city centre, with London School of Economics, Queen Mary and King’s College being situated around Aldwych and Holborn, and Imperial being in South Kensington. UCL is around Russell Square and Euston.
Many students decide to live near their university site and in central London as they will be close to all that London has to offer in terms of places to eat, museums, transport hubs and other attractions. They will also be less reliant on public transport and will have the ability to explore most of London on foot. Here are our suggestions on areas to consider living if you are a student in London.
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Shoreditch and Spitalfields
Located along the outskirts of the City of London and close to Liverpool Street, Spitalfields and Shoreditch are popular areas for Chinese students. East London is often considered “trendy” and “arty” and will really resonate with students who are undertaking more creative degrees. Shoreditch is famed for its nightlife and Spitalfields is home to a large market which is open daily. Both areas have plenty of restaurants and cafes for students to spend their free time refueling and studying. Universities in the immediate vicinity include London Metropolitan University (Aldgate campus), and London campuses of Northumbria University and Coventry University. The University of Law and City University are also close by. The Shoreditch and Spitalfields areas are in central London and more renowned universities are a short bus or underground ride away.
South Kensington is in west London and is considered leafy and upmarket with tree-lined streets and Georgian housing. Here you will find many of London’s world-famous museums such as the Science Museum, Victoria and Albert and the Natural History Museum. Imperial College London have a site near to the Science Museum, so students can spend their days in lectures and expanding their minds attending the many exhibitions the Science Museum hosts each year. King’s College and London School of Economics are a short underground ride away.
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In zone 1 towards the north of London is the recently regenerated King’s Cross area. King’s Cross is an area for students who like industrial-style housing and having everything on their doorstep.
Millions of pounds have been spent on new housing and commercial developments. One development that has won numerous accolades is Coal Drops Yard. It won a RIBA architecture award as the judges appreciated the sensitive refurbishment of the original structures and the ‘kissing roofs’. The development combines retail, commercial and business spaces that have been specially curated to fit in with the overall aesthetic. The name Coal Drops Yard was chosen to pay homage to the gas manufacturing works in the area, and the Gasholder guide frames have been repurposed as event spaces and surround new apartments.
King’s Cross is one of the best-connected areas of London, with 6 lines running through its underground station, an overground train station that has services to various cities to the north east of London and Scotland, and nearby St. Pancras where holidaymakers can catch the Eurostar to other cities in Europe such as Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris.
Not only is King’s Cross one of the most coveted areas in London with the best-connected transport hubs, it is also close to a University College London site, Birkbeck, and SOAS University in Bloomsbury and City University in Clerkenwell.
In conclusion, different neighbourhoods will appeal to different students. Those who are into the arts scene with pop-up shops and fusion restaurants will enjoy the Shoreditch / Spitalfields area. Those who want leafier surroundings close to museums and concert halls will be attracted to areas such as South Kensington, and those who wish to shop in curated boutique stores, be close to the action and navigate the city with ease will appreciate the convenience of the King’s Cross area.
These are just some of the popular areas for students in London. To get more insight about the London student property market along with student areas in other cities, contact One Touch Property today to start your property search.
There are many reasons investors across the globe have bought property in London over the years. It is considered a “safe haven” for investors, as the availability of job opportunities and cultural attractions means that it is very much a desirable place to live. So much so, that prices have increased substantially over the years.
We look at why people are investing in London property, the attraction of London and alternatives to the London property market. If you’ve ever considered investing in London property, click on the green arrow to find out the fundamentals that have driven growth in the city and where there are still opportunities for investment =>
What makes London so great?
London is one of the world’s most visited destinations. In 2019 it welcomed 21.7 million international visitors, all eager to soak up the history and culture of the city. It’s possible there is no other city where you will be able to sample almost every cuisine in the world, visit some of the greatest historical buildings in the world and watch the best theatre shows in the world in one day.
People move to London because they want that experience at their fingertips. They are not satisfied with a “once in a lifetime” trip to London. They want to be a short tube ride (London Underground) away from its attractions. Coincidentally, another thing that makes London so great is its transport network. According to a poll conducted by TripAdvisor, people from outside of the UK thought the system was one of the safest and most efficient in the world. Since the 1990s London’s population has been growing, and it hit a new high of 8.9 million in 2018. By 2030, London’s population is expected to reach almost 10 million.
London’s Cultural Offerings
London has so much to see and do. As Dr. Samuel Johnson once said, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Whatever your interest, there is something that accommodates it in London.
Most museums are free to access in the UK, and London is home to some of the world’s best museums. The British Museum, Victoria and Albert, Science Museum and Design Museum can justly claim to be the best in their field.
West end theatre, along with New York City’s Broadway, is considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Long-running shows include Les Misérables and Cats In a similar creative vein, London encourages residents to show off their creative and artistic flair. Whether it is through London Fashion Week or through its music venues such as O2 Arena, Roundhouse and Alexandra Palace.
London is also the UK’s political capital. MPs from across the UK congregate in the Houses of Parliament, and it is also home to the Prime Minister. But government representatives are not the only people who have a platform to voice their opinions, Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park has been around since the 1800s and offers citizens a platform to debate and conduct public speeches.
In terms of employment, London attracts some of the world’s top talent and highest paid workers. The City of London and Canary Wharf are home to many multinational banks. Not only in the banking world, but most UK media and technology jobs are based in London, as well as academia roles in the capital’s universities and exciting new start-up companies.
The fact that London offers the chance to work for such well-known institutions and newer progressive start-up companies makes it an exciting and desirable place to be. It also earns its place as the largest city by GDP per capita in Europe. It also contributes around 22% of the UK’s total GDP.
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Ongoing demand for housing in London
According to the mayor’s recent assessment of the London property market, approximately 66,000 new homes per year need to be built to satisfy demand. As we mentioned before, in 2018 London’s population reached a high of 8.9 million people, putting more strain on housing. Although in 2019 the number of new registrations rose 37%, 21,726 new homes not enough to satisfy demand, even if other buildings are being repurposed for residential use. This has made property in London a scarce commodity and those who own it find they have made significant profit, either through rent or capital growth.
House Price Increase in London
London offers so much in terms of culture and employment that it is no wonder people want to live close to the excitement. This has caused property prices to skyrocket as the supply of housing has not kept in pace with demand. According to Halifax, since the millennium house prices in Greater London have increased by 239%, beating the national average of 207%. In London, homebuyers were paying £157,453 on average in 1999. In 2019 the average was £375,983. Outside of London, the average price paid in 1999 was £91,199, compared to £279,997 in November 2019.
In London, property prices are 14 times the average salary according to research conducted by eMoov. In central London it is even higher, at 16 times the average UK wage. Mortgages in the UK are capped at four-and-a-half times your annual income. This means that unless you earn significantly above the average wage, or you have a sizeable deposit, owning property in London is out of reach even if you plan to buy as a couple and have to incomes to account for.
The difficulty is compounded by the fact that it is difficult to save for a deposit whilst paying rent, as rents in London are high. The unaffordability issue is a significant problem for a significant number of people, and it is why people are considering London commuter belt property.
How London’s Unaffordable Property Market Creates Opportunity
Since house prices have become increasingly unaffordable, particularly in inner London where property prices stand at £733,000, more people have been moving to London’s commuter belt. Property in commuter towns is often more affordable and offers better value for money. According to Lloyd’s Bank, those who work in central London can save up to £483,342 by commuting up to an hour to London each day rather than renting in the capital.
If you are looking to attract young professional tenants who work in London, you may want to consider buying in commuter towns. They offer an affordable alternative, and when it comes to selling it on there will be more people who can afford to buy.
London Commuter Town Property
Many of the most affordable London commuter towns in terms of property and then travel costs are based in Essex, such as Harlow, Grays and Basildon. Luton in Bedfordshire as also starred as one of London’s top commuter towns in terms of affordability. Luton is just 23 minutes from King’s Cross by train, which means it is easier to access parts of central London from Luton than it is from some London suburbs. Average property prices in Luton are £261,725, which is 5.4 times average earnings.
Perhaps it does not come as a surprise, but when things are more affordable and people have a higher amount of disposable income, it affects mental wellbeing. Studies have found that health, marital status, and economic activity are the three biggest factors that impact life satisfaction.
Luton scores highly for employment and economy, and rents are affordable whilst salaries are comparable to London. A long commute affects wellbeing and it is a reason many are put off from buying in commuter towns, however, Luton is just 23 minutes from King’s Cross. So, the commute time is unlikely to have that much of an impact on wellbeing.
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If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that a lot of jobs can be done from home, and flexible working will become the norm in the future. This means that people would not necessarily need to live in London close to their place of work and makes commuter towns more attractive.
Commuter Towns vs Big Cities: Life Satisfaction
How do London commuter towns compare with big cities in term of life satisfaction?
We hear every day that people are moving away from London to feel happier. Are London commuter towns really going to improve life satisfaction?
We delve deep into analysis of what really makes people happy in their surroundings. What factors influence people's happiness, and does having access to ammenities such as good transport links and places to visit trump affordable housing and fresh air? Click on the arrow to find out =>
How Does Where You Live Affect Life Satisfaction?
It is a well-known fact that London is one of the most unhappy places in the UK. The gap between the wealthiest residents and the poorest can exacerbate anxious and unhappy feelings and the capital is consistently ranked as one of the most unequal cities. We have seen that economic equality positively correlates with personal wellbeing.
You may be wondering what life satisfaction has to do with investment. But what if these factors actively influence where people live? Should you be considering areas with good levels of personal wellbeing for your next investment and how do you uncover these areas?
Moving from London to Manchester for Better Life Satisfaction
In recent years, many have moved away from London and Manchester has been the preferred destination. In 2017, a whooping 10,200 people moved from London to the Greater Manchester area. It’s not surprising that Manchester is a popular place to settle, it has undergone a huge amount of regeneration and has been named one of the best places in the UK to live for several consecutive years. According to “The Economist’s Global Livability Scale”, based on factors such as environment, healthcare, education, culture and infrastructure, Manchester ranked 35th in 2018 and 38th in 2019. The Economist’s Global Livability Scale ranks 140 worldwide cities on issues such as social stability, crime rates, education, and healthcare.
With accolades such as being the most livable city in the UK, Manchester has been one of the most popular places for Londoners to relocate to. London ranks just 48th out of the 140 worldwide cities assessed. However, these scales only rank cities and it means that towns and villages are overlooked, even if they offer the same or better in terms of life satisfaction.
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Commuter Towns vs London: Life Satisfaction
City life is typically busy and fast paced. Although there may be green spaces, they are often crowded on sunny days and overshadowed by towering buildings. Aside from the very wealthy, people usually rent or buy smaller living spaces, often without a garden. As people are packed tightly into dense living spaces, being disturbed by neighbours is commonplace and can affect quality of sleep or relaxation. Leaving the house to escape the noise is not an option as the streets are bustling. Heavy traffic and the pollution that comes with it affects air quality, surroundings, health and degrades buildings.
On the contrary, towns and villages offer a quieter way of life. It is rare they would have restaurants offering cuisines from around the world, and the range of museums, galleries and theatres would be smaller. Also, public transport is not as extensive and does not run for 24 hours as it does in some cities. That aside, there are some benefits which help with people’s wellbeing. People can get more for their money in terms of property and have more space. Towns and villages are generally less densely populated which lends itself to a more peaceful environment. Traffic is lighter and the countryside is more accessible.
There are many differences in lifestyle that can impact wellbeing and life satisfaction. From how the local economy is faring, pollution levels, safety, and housing options. Read on as we explain in a more tangible sense how these factors have proven to affect life satisfaction and wellness. We will also show data comparing key UK cities with commuter towns to find out which offer better life satisfaction.
Comparing Life Satisfaction in UK Cities and Commuter Towns
As we have mentioned above, towns and villages are quieter and more peaceful. People often live in larger houses and can buy more for their money. Living arrangements are more serene compared to the city. However, before we just supposed this would positively affect life satisfaction, we had no figures to back it up.
Data from the Office for National Statistics generally indicates that our suppositions are true. From the data we extracted, we compared an area of London (Camden), with two key UK cities (Birmingham and Manchester), and the popular London commuter town (Luton).
From the data we can see that Camden ranked highest for those reporting that their life satisfaction is “Good” at 58.54. Yet its average fared poorly and was the lowest of all areas compared at 7.48. Coming back to what we asserted previously, London is one of the most unequal places in the UK. The inequality is particularly felt in the London Borough of Camden, which is home to the 10% least deprived and 10% most deprived areas of the UK. Juniper Crescent and Gilbey’s Yard are in the 10% most deprived areas in the country, whereas Gloucester Avenue and Regent's Park Road are the 10% least deprived. They are situated just across the train tracks from one another, which can spark despondence and anxiety for those living in the less wealthy area.
Places that scored low on wellbeing rates were in built up areas. For example, Lambeth scored a low 2.55 out of 10 on the local environment subdomain which regards the level of air pollution in the area.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, Luton fared well with regards to average wellbeing rates, at 7.65. Rents are considerably more affordable, and earnings are greater. Economic security and income can have a huge impact on personal wellbeing.
Health, marital status and economic activity are the three biggest factors that impact our life satisfaction according to the Office for National Statistics. It may come as surprise that Luton scored higher than Manchester in term of employment and economy.
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The Personal Wellbeing report is released seasonally by the Office for National Statistics. Data is collected as people are asked to rate their well-being on an 11-point scale. We analysed the data and used it as a marker that will drive capital growth with regards to property prices. You can download our full analysis to find out more. Affordability and Wellbeing comparisons
Luton has the lowest average rent of every place we compared. The average property rent in Luton according to Home.co.uk is £832, compared to Manchester at £1,155 pcm and London at £2,896 pcm. The Office for National Statistics reported a higher life satisfaction score for those who can spend money on life experiences rather than essentials such as mobile phones, rent and food. That residents in Luton have more income to spend on non-essentials positively contributes to its personal wellbeing score.
Another factor that can lower personal wellbeing is a long commute. It is understandable that people are working long hours and do not want to spend hours travelling to and from work. Not only does it eat into their personal time, but it is often stressful, tiring, and expensive. According to the Office for National Statistics, those with a long commute of 60-90 minutes were the most likely to feel anxious and report lower life satisfaction. Even though people live in the capital for convenience, they also have the longest commute of anywhere in the UK at 74 minutes. London was also found to be the most stressful according to a survey of 2,000 UK workers. Trains from Luton to London St Pancras take just under half an hour, so it is likely this convenient commute positively impacts personal wellbeing and life satisfaction.
We have already written about how the Coronavirus pandemic and flexible working arrangements will impact properties people choose and we think personal wellbeing will play a big part in that too. In recent years personal wellbeing has been brought to the forefront of discussions and the Coronavirus pandemic has made people to take more action to safeguard it. With the stresses that come from city living, we can see people moving to commuter towns and villages where there is a slower pace of life and reportedly higher levels of wellbeing.
Where Are People Moving to From London
If people are looking to live in commuter towns and villages as opposed to cities, it makes sense that investors should consider those areas as demand will be higher. The Orion is a new development in Luton town centre, due to complete in Q4 2020. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is £950 and can be purchased from £179,900. There is no ground rent to pay and projected yields that can be attained hover around the 6% mark. Bannatyne Health Spa is only 5 minutes’ walk from the Orion development thereby providing access to one of the nationwide health club groups with amenities which include swimming pools, jacuzzis, personal training and treatment centres. It is also just a 11-minute walk from the train station, ensuring residents a swift commute to central London as travel times can be as little as 25-minutes. An annual season ticket Luton to London King’s Cross costs £5576. A London Zone 1-6 travelcard is £2640 per year, but average house prices in Luton are still considerably lower.
Luton’s population is growing faster than the UK average which will positively affect rental yields and capital growth as property becomes more in demand. These are just some of the fundamentals we feel investors should be considering about London Commuter Towns before making a buy to let investment decision. If you want to know what other fundamentals aside from population growth, happiness and prospects for capital growth you should download our buy to let investment guide.
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The importance of looking after your personal happiness has really come to the forefront in recent years due to campaigns from charities, organisations and political parties. We really think people will begin to consciously realise how their environment affects their mental wellbeing, and look more favourably on quieter towns, and this could provide an opportunity to investors. If you have decided that you want to move ahead with a commuter town property investment, why not read our buy to let mortgage guide. Alternatively, start the conversation with a property expert by getting in touch with one of our investment consultants who will guidance you through the key aspects of the UK property market and present exclusive opportunities not always listed on our website.
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