- Liverpool city centre population increases by 160% in a single decade (Centre for Cities)
- Prime town and city market prices now 3% above 2007 peak (Knight Frank)
- New development The Strand Plaza, Liverpool epitomises luxury living for young professionals (Surrenden Invest)
Knight Frank’s latest Prime Country View report highlighted the rise of urban prime in the UK over the past decade. According to the report, prime property values in town and city markets have jumped 26% since 2005, compared to just 7% for rural properties. Whilst rural homes languish at 13% below their 2007 peak, prime city residences have now exceeded their former peak by 3%.
These figures certainly tally with the experiences of those in Liverpool. Centre for Cities has unveiled a report which shows the number of people residing in the city centre more than doubled in the decade to 2011. According to the report, the rise was fuelled by young professionals: more than half of Liverpool city centre’s residents were aged between 22 and 29 by 2011, quite an impressive figure that reveals a new trend in city centre living.
The availability of jobs was the main reason behind the huge rise in those looking to live in the city centre, but that’s not the only attraction of living centrally, as Jonathan Stephens, Managing Director of property consultancy Surrenden Invest, explains,
“We’ve seen a real rise in demand for luxury city centre living over the past decade. Young professionals are no longer happy to settle for mediocre accommodation in the suburbs and a tiresome commute to and from work. They want a luxury pad that’s ideally located for work – as well as for accessing the city’s leisure and cultural pursuits during evenings and at the weekend. It’s all about location AND luxury – prime developments need to be well located and offer additional features like concierge services to really pique the interest of contemporary young professionals of today.”
Stephens cites the limited release of apartments at The Strand Plaza, Liverpool, as the perfect example. The building is set within Liverpool’s UNSECO World Heritage waterfront area – a prime city centre location. The striking exterior opens up into well-appointed living spaces designed to target young professionals with a taste for the finer things in life. Apartments come fully furnished and with premium amenities, such as the 24-hour concierge service.
One bedroom apartments at The Strand Plaza cost from £135,000 to £165,000, with two bedrooms priced from £185,000 to £250,000, with 6.5% NET assured return.
Such developments will serve to meet the growing demand for luxury accommodation that cities like Liverpool are experiencing. As the Centre for Cities report observes, the higher cost of properties that provide city centre living is no longer the deterrent that it once was for young people just starting out on the career ladder,
“These people are willing to pay a premium to live there, in order to access the amenities that city centre living offers – being able to walk to work, being near cultural attractions, being near shops and restaurants, and being surrounded by other young, professional, single people.”
While Liverpool’s overall city centre population rose by 160% between 2001 and 2011, its younger residents (aged 22-29) more than quadrupled in number. The dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit of this city-based community is behind Liverpool’s growing reputation as the startup capital for the North, with Santander having opened its first business incubator there in 2014. Liverpool is also home to the SparkUp accelerator programme and Launch22 has opted for Liverpool as well, opening its first incubator outside of London there.
This business and entrepreneurial ethos has spread throughout the city and is based on a solid and rapidly improving financial foundation. According to PwC’s Good Growth for Cities 2014 report, Liverpool saw the largest improvement in income equality and the fourth largest rise in income per head out of any UK city.
With so many bright young things flocking to the city centre to be part of Liverpool’s future, it will be fascinating to see how much better the city performs over the coming years, with all this creative and passionate talent at its disposal, and in turn to witness the ever-growing demand for young luxury city-centre living.