The experts at Aspen Woolf look at the factors combining to make Bolton one of the most exciting property investment opportunities of the next few years.
Property investors mulling their best options for high yields and low entry prices should consider Bolton. While it may not be the first place that springs to mind when considering investment opportunities, Bolton has many reasons to recommend it as a property investment hotspot.
Not only is it one of the biggest towns in Europe, Greater Manchester-based Bolton is widely regarded as one of the happiest too. Locals are renowned for their warm welcome to visitors and this is a major contributory factor towards Bolton’s popularity. Its rich cultural heritage, close proximity to Manchester and increasing population combine to make it one to watch.
Why is property investment in Bolton a good decision?
The town of Bolton forms the administrative heart of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton. It’s situated about 10 miles to the north west of Manchester city and incorporates several smaller villages and towns.
And Bolton is currently undergoing a renaissance, with a 15-year redevelopment plan already underway. The regeneration masterplan is worth a cool £1.2 billion in investment, and includes housing schemes, residential, commercial and retail developments.
Bolton is a major player within the economy of Greater Manchester, which in turn forms the centre of the Northern Powerhouse strategy. This Government initiative aims to revitalise major towns, cities and business hubs across the north of England, unleashing the potential of these industrial centres.
The town council has formed a development fund worth £100 million, which is the heart of the project. This has attracted more than £1 billion worth of investment and development. Bolton is no stranger to successful regeneration projects, with an award-winning project already completed. The Market Place development transformed a Victorian market hall into a vibrant and buzzing retail centre, thanks to an investment of £27 million. In addition, a transport interchange transformed by £50 million worth of investment is also now open.
Key areas for growth in the regeneration plan
Key areas for growth across the town include retail, tourism and leisure, commercial and office space, education, residential and travel infrastructure. The introduction of SMART technology will create a fully accessible town centre, with modern town-centre residential developments and a strong retail heart.
The Bolton Town Centre Masterplan will transform the centre of town from a purely retail hub to a residential and retail space. There will be more than 2,000 new homes as part of this plan. And while retail space will be reduced, there will still be a number of high-profile outlets in the centre. These include the likes of Boots, Marks and Spencer and Primark.
New leisure and hospitality outlets will increase the viability of Bolton town centre and provide for the new residents. This radical town centre transformation will fundamentally alter Bolton. It’s in addition to the rebuilding of the aforementioned transport hub and the existing £260 million transformation of the town’s private and public sectors.
And why is all of this so imminent? Bolton is attracting young professionals, students and families and is all about growth. Its population is currently around 280,000 but this is predicted to exceed 300,000 by 2025. It’s a town brimming with potential and growth opportunities.
An example of the first high-spec ‘city living’ development in Bolton can be seen with Stonecross House. Low investment costs, high yields and an investment discount from RICS make this one of the key opportunities for property investors. And it’s very much a sign of things to come.
Boosting the economic output of Bolton and Greater Manchester
The economic output from Bolton is worth about £4.6 billion and forms an integral part of that of Greater Manchester. Its significance can’t be overstated, particularly when it’s understood that the economy of Greater Manchester is second only to London.
Bolton is also home to Logistics North. This is one of the biggest manufacturing developments in the north of the country. It acts as a major distribution hub for all kinds of international brands, including Aldi, Amazon and MBDA. Another notable development in Bolton is Middlebrook. This is an 80-hectare site housing the biggest retail and leisure complex in Europe. And it’s also home to the town’s football club, Bolton Wanderers FC.
And it’s not just young families, professionals and those looking for urban living flocking to Bolton. It’s also a big student town.
Major changes for the University of Bolton
The University of Bolton is situated right in the centre of the town and is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in the country. The university also forms a key part of the town centre regeneration, with a £31 million influx of investment. This is being used to create a health, leisure and research centre, which is in partnership with NHS Bolton and Bolton Council, a new law school and a new business school.
As part of the university, the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering opened its doors in 2017. This was developed with investment of £13 million into the base for the Centre of Advanced Performance Engineering.
There are yet more projects in the development pipeline thanks to the bigger investment picture. These include a new £40 million hall of residence development to house the growing student population, which currently numbers about 14,000.
Cheap house prices and high buy to let yields
House prices in Bolton are 27% cheaper than the national average, according to Government figures. While they remain low for now, they have increased by 25% since 2014.
Prices won’t stay low forever, and with more than a billion pounds worth of investment flowing into Bolton, the town is set for major transformational changes. The ideal location of the town, so close to Manchester bolsters its credentials. And its own developments across every sector show why now is the time for serious investors to get involved.
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