Why Stoke is great for property investment

5 reasons why Stoke-on-Trent is great for property investment

The Potteries is experiencing a revival. But what exactly is it about the land of ceramics and oatcakes that makes it so appealing to the would-be property investor?

1. It is the number one buy-to-let hotspot

It’s not very often that you’ll find Stoke at the top of any leagues. Sure, the people here would probably come pretty close in the table of good nature, and we make a cup and saucer like nobody else, but we doubt you’ll ever see our football team reach dizzy heights in the Premier League – love them as we do. So, you’ll forgive us, then, for shouting about a league that we have actually prospered in – property investment.

Earlier this year, research from investment marketplace, Property Partner, found that Stoke-on-Trent is numero uno when it comes to annual rental yield from buy-to-let properties. It is the hotspot.

The research took into account house prices, local salaries and rental returns, and the results were conclusive in favour of The Potteries. Moreover, the North in general has a real upper hand versus the South. The 10 best locations can all be found in the North and, conversely, the worst are all in the South. More evidence, if needed, that the North-South divide very much exists. But this time it has nothing to do with culture, politics, or standards of living – and this time it’s the North who have come out on top.

Here are the figures:

Information source: Property Partner

2. It is no longer in the list of ‘The 10 worst places to live in the UK’

OK, we know what you’re thinking. Are we really so delighted that Stoke isn’t at the top of someone’s s**t list? Actually, yes. For the simple reason that people seemed to make such a big deal of it at the time and were so quick to stereotype a place they’d never even been to.

We’re not, for one minute, going to pretend that Stoke-on-Trent doesn’t have pockets of depravation. A lot of places in the UK do. The nation is, after all, in the midst of a housing crisis and there are more people sleeping rough than ever before. But Stoke-on-Trent is certainly trying its damnedest to release itself from the shackles of its former infamy. Evidence from comparison service uSwitch identifies Stoke as the 83rd best place to live in the UK from a list of 138 cities. Yes, we’re still in the bottom half – and while this appears to be nothing to shout about, it is a “vast improvement” on the statistics from 2013. Things are rapidly heading in the right direction. The appeal of Stoke is most definitely starting to widen.

As we’ll discuss in more detail later, Stoke is rife with investment. Not only that, its very desirable geographic location has deemed it the ‘home of the billion pound start-up.’ Bet 365 and JCB are examples of major success stories that have blossomed in our humble surroundings. And huge global players like Amazon, Jaguar Land Rover and Vodafone are investing millions of pounds, which, in turn, is creating much needed jobs.

3. It was voted the second best place to start a business in 2016

London-based company formation service, Quality Formations, awarded Stoke-on-Trent the second best place to start a business from a list of 69 UK cities, in 2016. The reason for the achievement was largely down to the help that is available from organisations in the area, but also due to the fact that Stoke offers affordable office space. More than 4,000 new businesses started in the area in 2013. Another surprising but extremely encouraging statistic.

4. It is witnessing an influx of investment

Statistics from local business support and investment experts, Make it Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, state that more than £2bn will be invested in the area in the next five years, in the form of office, industrial and retail projects. As we highlighted earlier, there are some major multinational protagonists who have chosen to make Stoke-on-Trent their home. And ongoing investment from those big hitters is creating a huge number of jobs across Staffordshire:

  • JCB, the world leaders in construction machinery have announced 2,500 jobs;

  • The UK’s largest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, will be creating 1,400 jobs at its new engine plant;

  • The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, have announced 1,200 jobs at a new distribution plant at Trentham Lakes near to the Bet 365 Stadium.

Job creation is, of course, the natural consequence of investment. But here at HIM Group, we have firsthand experience that the natural by-product of job creation, particularly at local distribution centres, is people needing a place to live—great news for property investors.

5. The ‘Master Plan’ is coming to fruition

An ambitious plan, initially devised and set in motion back in 2011, is starting to take shape. What seemed a little adventurous just six years ago is now very much in progress.

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage at Stoke-on-Trent council, recently affirmed, “Stoke-on-Trent is changing rapidly and there is a real confidence about the city now.”

Major new developments that were outlined in the Master Plan are beginning to transform the horizon across the Potteries. New housing is being erected around the City – in the heart of Stoke centre and on the site of the old Victoria Ground (the former home of Stoke City Football Club). Major distribution centres have had the green light at key sites across the area. But, perhaps the most exciting development will be happening at Stoke train station and the surrounding area, which will be the subject of a major transformation in the coming years. These improvements will accommodate the estimated growth in rail travel, the impact that the new HS2 will have on the City, and the growth of the City itself.

The proposal for the development of this area includes a landmark footbridge that will cross the adjacent A500 into the former Spode Works. This plot, which once thrived with pottery manufacture, is set to be revived as the hub of Stoke town centre. It will include retail units, a hotel and offices as well as the hugely impressive Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone – one of only 26 enterprise zones nationwide. This excellent initiative will support new businesses and a wide variety of light industries, as well as reinforce Stoke as the ceramic capital of the world.

It’s all very positive – and in addition to the hugely impressive developments that are already taking shape across the City. Keele University’s new iC5 Innovation Centre, for example, will attract high-tech research and development companies in an already flourishing business park; and phase two of the dynamic Smithfield project with its hotel, retail and office space will create more than 4,000 jobs in the Hanley area.

But what does all this mean for property investment in the area?

Well, it stands to reason that development and regeneration will reinvigorate the economy, create jobs and bring more people to the area. And those people will need somewhere to live. This is where HIM Group can help. We have a proven track record of property sourcing, refurbishment and letting. Many of our landlords live hundreds of miles away from Stoke-on-Trent but have chosen HIM for the stress-free solution to property investment  and management that we provide.

This original article was produced by Him Group and you can find the original article here - Take a look at some of their recent refurbishment projects for an idea of the standard of their work and an idea of the return on investment.