So, you are looking to buy a home but also have one eye on future investment potential. It might be the case that you have a relatively little degree of freedom in terms of geographic location. However, if you are relatively free to choose the area , you may find some of the following location thoughts useful.
London and the South East
For many years investing in properties in this part of England has been a relatively sound bet. Of course, there have been odd periods where things have been a little shaky. On the whole though, the concentration of wealth and employment in this area, coupled with its proximity to the continent, means that prices look stable and perhaps set to gently increase over the years ahead. On the downside, property prices are already high and bargain properties are in very short supply. Lifestyle can also be an issue given crowding and pressures on infrastructure and social fabrics, which may not be a problem if you intend to let the house. Yet opportunities might still exist if you are prepared to undertake some restoration work and it might be worth looking in some of the less fashionable areas or at commercial properties in need of substantial renovation – though keep in mind change of use permissions may be required.
Like London, for many years this has been a pretty rock-solid investment in terms of house prices. Even some of the great turmoil in the housing markets that has occasionally taken place over the last half century or so, quite often seem to have passed Scotland’s capital by. It is the centre of Scottish government, the legal establishment and has a thriving Financial Service sector. It is also somewhere with a high tourist income factor, great surrounding countryside and a high standard of living. It’s a vibrant and culture-filled city. If Scotland opts for independence, it is difficult to see any of that changing (though opinions on that differ) and it may actually increase the desirability of property in this beautiful city. The downside is that property prices here are high and amongst some of the highest in the UK outside of London itself. Bargains or even good deals may be hard to find.
This is a hugely under-rated area of beautiful countryside and some extremely pleasant towns. It’s much less well-known and therefore much more affordable than the Cotswolds – an area it borders and arguably partly encompasses. There’s a high standard of living and being outside of the South East means crowding is much less of an issue Commuting to London from Coventry is perfectly possible on fast trains and if the new high speed train network goes ahead, parts of this county may be well positioned to exploit the even faster times through to the capital.
It used to be the case that when you crossed the border from Buckinghamshire into Northamptonshire, you could see house prices drop by almost 20 per cent. The villages and beautiful country properties were almost indistinguishable but Bucks was somehow seen as ‘home counties’ whereas Northants, just a few yards away, was an ‘unknown’ East Midlands destination. Today that differential is nowhere near as pronounced but even so, property prices may still be far more attractive for the sake of travelling as little as another 5 miles from Bucks to an equally pretty village location in Northants.
Yorkshire and Lancashire
This is a vast geographical region encompassing county towns, rural isolation and major metropolises. There is little doubt that in the past, properties in parts of this area have been a risky investment outside of those locations surrounding Manchester and Leeds. Economic hardship and industrial decline has meant property price reductions in many areas, however, many of the local towns are undergoing something of a renaissance. It might be a riskier bet but the outlook might be brightening a little in some areas and that might affect property prices positively in future. There is also some magnificent countryside to explore and assuming you have adequate income, the lifestyle may be far more relaxed than in southern Britain.
A word of warning though…….
Unlike most other European countries and cultures, buying a home in the UK has always had an invest-orientation to it rather than just being a search for a nest. Therefore, remember to think both with your heart and head. As with any other investment decision, extensive research and possibly expert advice are highly advisable before taking the plunge. Remember, house prices can fall as well as rise.