Property buyers looking for a strong future return on their investment should always look out for and consider areas undergoing regeneration. More often than not, urban regeneration is a signpost of future growth and demand, resulting in amenities that improve the local area, attract new residents and boost property prices.
We’re spotlighting a handful of the top locations currently undergoing substantial regeneration, being transformed into attractive places to live and work. From the regional cores that are leading the way with long-term masterplans to emerging towns that are spending millions on vital infrastructure, all of these locations are top of the class for homebuyers and property investment in the UK.
Here, we roundup our top five urban regeneration hotspots in the UK for 2023.
What is Regeneration?
When we talk about regeneration, we’re thinking about the investment that towns and cities pour into vital sectors . Whether that’s transport, retail, housing, commercial space or even leisure areas, all of these sectors are important considerations for property buyers and property investors alike. In fact, location is still very much a deciding factor for many homebuyers – and for good reason.
Developments such as new train stations, shopping centres, leisure facilities and mixed-use commercial spaces directly provide a better lifestyle, which in turn attracts new residents. This effect can then ripple outwards, attracting new businesses which support a higher-paid workforce and thus, increase demand for residential living nearby.
A great example of regeneration is the Birmingham Big City Plan. What started with the development of the Bullring in 2003 has evolved into a full regeneration masterplan and supported house price growth of 200% over the last 20 years. This redevelopment has completely changed the landscape of the city and turned Birmingham into a great location for homebuyers and property investors.
It’s fair to say that Bracknell has seen a vast array of urban regeneration over the last 10 years or so, and the appeal of property for sale in Bracknell has increased as a result.
Headlined by the completion of The Lexicon shopping centre, the £770 million ‘Bracknell Vision 2032’ regeneration project is one of the UK’s most ambitious multiphase schemes designed to rejuvenate the town and cater to increasing demand for property within London’s commuter belt.
The Lexicon brought 160 new retail shops, bars and restaurants to the town centre, much to the delight of locals, and was even awarded Development of the Year at the 2018 Thames Valley Property Awards. The next phase, due for completion in 2023 is The Deck which serves as an entrance to the Lexicon and aims to become the “leisure quarter”, designed around a newly landscaped public space and becoming the new home of Bracknell’s existing Hollywood Bowl.
As part of this ambitious regeneration scheme, eight core buildings and six place-making squares have already been created to hold outdoor events and activities; whilst £6.5 million in extra investment was dedicated to improving highway infrastructure by Bracknell’s council and 3,800 extra car parking spaces have been provided to help draw in more visitors to the town centre. This has ultimately contributed to Bracknell’s popularity – particularly with first time buyers – skyrocket in recent years.
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Like many areas of the UK, Liverpool has undergone extensive regeneration over the past 20 years, transforming it into one of the UK’s leading business destinations and placing as the top city for computer science research with the one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the UK – coming second only to the West Midlands.
According to Regenerating Liverpool, the city’s most iconic regeneration schemes have collectively been valued at an impressive £14 billion, including £960 million dedicated to LiverpoolONE outdoor shopping centre which attracted big name retailers such as Harvey Nichols. The scheme has been credited as the catalyst for numerous further redevelopment projects and economic growth since it launched in 2008.
Other major regeneration schemes includes Knowledge Quarter, a £2.2 billion inner city project that helped develop Liverpool’s world-leading health, technology and science innovation hub and elevate the city’s economic status in line with London and the South East. Thanks to this regeneration, the area now boasts the Royal College of Physicians, three universities and the Liverpool Science Park, housing over 120,000 square feet of space.
Liverpool’s future is an exciting one, with the first phase of the 30-year Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme launched in 2018 with many more to follow. This £5 billion project will be comprised of five distinct neighbourhoods across two million square metres of land and will redefine the historic waterfront into business, residential and leisure space.
With the added improvement of the city’s road network, as well as upgrades to its train stations, Liverpool’s ever growing urban regeneration is set to further increase its appeal as a place to live and invest.
LiverpoolONE Shopping Centre
As the UK’s second city, Birmingham has seen unprecedented regeneration across its skyline over the last 20 years. What started with the Bullring has only continued with the redevelopment of New Street Station, Grand Central and the new West Midlands Metro Line that runs all the way to Wolverhampton.
At the heart of the city, Paradise continues to get closer to completion, following in the footsteps of Snowhill – the largest speculative office scheme outside of London. This regeneration scheme brings 120,000 sq. ft of retail & leisure space, 1.74million sq. ft of office space as well as 3 new public spaces into the city centre.
Moving slightly further out of the city-centre, Digbeth is continuing to experience substantial investments, the largest of these is Birmingham Smithfield – a £1.9 billion project that will transform large parts of the area into mixed-use office and commercial space, residential units and more incredible public to enjoy. Plans to launch the cities newest TV and film studios, Digbeth Loc Studios, are an additional bonus for the area, drawing BBC Midlands and TV shows such as MasterChef and Peaky Blinders to relocate here.
As the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham not only showcased its transformation to the world, but also benefitted from an additional £700 million of investment spread across numerous suburbs as a direct result of the Games.
But as Birmingham is crowned “City of the Year” by Estates Gazette, there is still more to come as one of the UK’s most well-known projects edges closer to completion – High Speed 2. While the benefits of HS2 for Birmingham are too numerous to list here, it’s expected that this new rail line will completely revolutionise the local property market, delivering unprecedented demand from homebuyers looking for cheaper alternatives to the capital and supporting thousands of new jobs.
Once one of the lesser-known locations on this list, Slough has transformed itself into a property hotspot after a substantial regeneration scheme worth nearly £3 billion. The Heart of Slough project is already well underway, transforming large parts of Slough and breathing new life into the area.
Following on from the development of The Curve – a now iconic multipurpose facility and cultural hub in the town centre, comprehensive plans to continue regenerating the area have been submitted, including a complete replacement of the Queensmere Observatory shopping centre to breathe new life into the high street.
With a site spanning nearly 1 million sq.ft of office space and 500,000 sq.ft of retail units, the proposed plan is mammoth and would elevate the town further up the list of best commuter towns.
As of May 2022, Slough’s train station now sits directly on the new Elizabeth Line, providing a welcomed extension to Slough’s existing train connections to London Paddington, with residents now having access to other key London employment hubs such as Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.
Within walking distance of Slough train station, The Metalworks residential development presents the perfect opportunity for homebuyers to buy property in an area experiencing a great amount of property price growth, with the added benefit of short commutes to the Capital.
In fact, nearly 46% of homes in Slough are said to be let to people leaving the Capital, with property prices up to 16% below the South East average and up to 45% less than London.
If you’re looking into property for sale in Slough, consider reading our comprehensive area guide.
As one of the most exciting property hotspots in the UK, it’s no surprise that Leeds is driving this success through the use of regeneration.
In terms of local economy, Leeds is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and this is having an incredible impact on the population – enticing nearly 10% of those leaving London annually since 2018.
As you’d expect, the regeneration occurring in Leeds is largely centred around new amenities and infrastructure, prioritising the facilities to meet this demand.
One of the major projects the recently completed £161 million revamp of Leeds City Station, which was completed in January 2022. As a major transport hub for the city and Northern England’s busiest station, this regeneration project saw platforms lengthened, a new concourse and platform as well as improved trackwork to increase the reliability of trains. Additional works, due to start construction in 2023, include the creation of a station district, and upgrades to the surrounding public spaces.
The ‘west end’ of the city is also set to receive a facelift with a new £270 million development. After almost a decade of planning, a developer is now in place to help deliver the 2.8-acre ‘Lisbon Square’ site which will include residential apartments, hotel facilities and mixed-use office space.
It’s expected that ‘Lisbon Square’ will play a major role in helping Leeds double the size of the city-centre and boost the wider city’s economy, while delivering an attractive public space.
Finally, £18.6 million has been secured by Leeds City Council from the ‘Getting Building’ fund, which will be spent on three new regeneration projects. Around £8 million will be spent on transforming City Park in the South Bank, while £7.4 million will go towards redeveloping Temple Green Park and Ride, closely followed by £2.6 million being spent on renovating older homes in the Holbeck area of the city.
Why is Urban Regeneration Important for Homebuyers and Property Investment?
Consider this: If you invest in an established investment location, you’ll probably find good returns. On the flip side, you’re likely to pay a little (or a lot, if we consider London) more. Similarly, you may miss out on potential capital growth.
Buying or investing in an emerging location that has plenty of planned urban regeneration or nearby amenities, you’ll typically spend less initially and still benefit from the capital growth that occurs naturally over time. Many of our top places to invest for 2023 have undergone significant regeneration schemes which have revolutionised the areas and transformed them into highly sought-after property hotspots. This can also result in higher yields, especially if you consider cities such as Birmingham which are relatively affordable but can deliver yields upwards of 5% because of the rapid regeneration it’s experiencing.
SevenCapital: Urban Regeneration Specialists
As the UK’s leading property developer, we pride ourselves on being specialists in urban regeneration, utilising brownfield land and converting old buildings into high specification residential apartments to breathe new life into key areas of London, Birmingham and the South East.
Our Birmingham property development, St. Martin’s Place, saw the transformation of an old car park and now offers spacious, city centre apartments with added resident-only amenities – a first for the city. You can find out more about St. Martin’s Place in our case study, here.
Find out more about SevenCapital, here.