Dating back to 1st century A.D, Chester is an historic walled city in the northwest of England that was founded as a Roman fortress. Situated close to Liverpool, Manchester and the Welsh border, this ancient city has excellent transport links, an interesting mix of heritage and culture, and plenty of opportunities to attract workers, students and investors. Here’s why we think you should consider investing in Chester.
Economy and Growth
Chester sits in the county of Cheshire, which contributes £20billion a year to the UK’s GVA. Employing over 27,000 people, the city itself adds £1.8 billion to the Cheshire and Warrington economy annually.
Finance is a big industry in the city, with the Bank of America, HBOS plc, M&S Bank and Virgin Money all having large offices based here. Tourism is the other big earner, with Chester Zoo alone boosting the region’s economy by £50million!
In a plan to build off this, in 2007 Chester Council declared their intention to become a “must see European destination”, with a 10-year, £1.3 billion plan known as the Chester Renaissance. Specific projects included the Delamere Street development, the £60million HQ development and the £300 million Chester Northgate development.
Chester has also launched the Chester Growth Partnership, a 15-year strategy that will, with the help of key partners, deliver a programme of further regeneration and improvements to the city as part of the One City Plan.
Popular with Tourists
With so much history and culture on offer, Chester is naturally a big draw for tourists. Its heritage is on display for all to see, with most of the Grade I listed wall still intact and an array of historical architecture, such as the half-timbered buildings that look like they’re straight out of a Grimm Fairy Tale! It won’t come as much of a surprise that in 2013 the city was voted the prettiest in the UK, and placed in the top five cities in Europe.
Another big attraction is Chester Zoo, which is the largest in the UK. With over 11,000 animals, set in 110 acres of award-winning gardens, you can certainly while away a few hours. Follow up your animal adventure with a trip to Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, the only professional open-air theatre company currently operating outside London.
Shopping is also a popular pastime in Chester. The Grosvenor Shopping Centre is a popular destination, soon to be joined by the £300 million Chester Northgate development. This major new complex will have 500,000 sq. ft. of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities.
And with a good choice of cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs, there’s plenty to keep the 31+ million visitors to the region entertained.
Great for Students
The University of Chester is a well-regarded institution that dates back 176 years. It welcomes nearly 20,000 young people every year, studying a range of subjects from business to science to media. It boasts an impressive rate of 95.2% of students going into work or further study within 6 months of graduating.
The university also plays a big part in the local community and economy. Recent massive expansion has led to regeneration of several buildings in and around the city, repurposing them for educational use. For example, the Shell Technology Centre, which the university took over in 2013 and converted into the Thornton Science Park. This allowed the university to offer a range of new engineering-related degree programmes, significantly upping their national profile and reputation.
Whilst the academic profile is enough of a draw alone, the cultural experiences and nightlife help to make Chester such a popular place to study.
Strong Transport Links
Tucked beneath Liverpool, next to the Welsh border, with Manchester just over an hour away, Chester is well-placed to be accessed by both road and train.
Major roads, the A55 and A483, takes drivers down into North and South Wales, the M53 links the city to Liverpool, while the M56 connects Chester with both Manchester and the M6, which heads south towards Birmingham and the Midlands.
The city’s main railway station, Chester General, welcomes trains across the city, including London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Crewe, and (from December 2017) Leeds and Bradford.
And then, there’s the canal. Part of the Shropshire Canal Network, the canal’s two branches – which run under the northern part of the city’s border wall – have played a key role in trade and transport in Chester for centuries.
The city also benefits from a local bus and tram network, and is a relatively short distance from both Manchester Airport and Liverpool John Lennon Airport – handy for those looking to travel further afield!
Buoyant Housing Market
The city certainly has character and a rich visual look thanks to the vast variety of historic architecture, from medieval to Tudor and Victorian. And with a strong economy and wave of investment since the 2008 recession, the property market is flourishing.
Indeed, Chester has had one of the fastest growing housing markets in recent years – in 2015 demand for housing rose by 164%! This naturally helped prices rise in that time. Average prices in the city currently sit at £224,568, which is just a little below the average for England (£232,530).
And with a crackdown on HMOs in the city, there is an increasing need for new purpose built student accommodation to house Chester’s large cohort of students. This provides investors with an ideal opportunity to enter one of the best and strongest markets in the UK.
If you want to read more about investing in Chester and student property, take a look at A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Chester and Student Properties Are a Safe Bet For 2017.
Think an investment property in Chester might be right for you? Here are the properties we currently have available.