Along with its proud heritage and healthy local economy, Liverpool is a thriving university city with a large and increasing student intake every year. This makes it an attractive proposition for property investors looking to tap into the continuous demand for student accommodation. For prospective landlords, this guide will look at Liverpool’s potential for investment.
A Quick Look at Liverpool
Liverpool is one of the most distinguished cities in the UK, famous for its musical heritage, successful football teams and standout regional accent. Liverpudlians, or Scousers as they are popularly known, have a proud local identity, but are also welcoming to tourists and immigrants from all over the world.
During the 19th century Liverpool flourished throughout the Industrial Revolution as a major UK port city, creating a gateway for the British Empire and its vast trading network. This also brought in many migrants to the region looking for work on the docks, particularly from Ireland.
At the start of the 21st century, although Liverpool relies less on the port as an economic resource, the rest of the city had undergone a financial and physical resurgence. This has only been aided by the city’s flourishing tourism sector, boosted with the award of the European Capital of Culture in 2008.
This economic prosperity and increasing investment in various sectors of private enterprise has been an appealing focal point for student property investors over recent years, looking to cash in on the ever-present upsurge.
Employment figures are improving in line with the national average, with fewer people claiming job seekers allowance moving into 2015. The service sector accounts for the majority of employment in areas such as public administration, education, health and finance.
The city has a population of around 470,000, located within a wider Merseyside population of over 2 million. In addition, a steady stream of tourists make Liverpool the fifth most visited city in the UK, bringing in over £1 billion to the local economy every year.
With the city in seemingly good shape and expected to keep growing, Liverpool has been the subject of multi-million pound regeneration projects throughout the 21st century. The impressive Superport is home to some of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, aiding many major UK, Irish and global shipment links. A new £1 billion deep-water terminal is due to become operational in late 2015 as well.
Another recent regeneration project has taken place on Liverpool’s Waterfront area with a £40 million exhibition centre and £26 million hotel expected to be completed by 2016. In addition to a £1.5 billion scheme to regenerate the Kings Dock and Lime Street areas, Liverpool is fast becoming one of the UK’s most desirable cities to invest in.
Liverpool has fantastic transport links providing easy access around the Merseyside region and all across the country. The M62 passes through Manchester and Leeds on its way to the east coast, whilst also providing a route onto the M6 (for Birmingham) and M1 (London).
The city is well served by bus, with the Queens Square and Liverpool One terminals providing numerous services around Merseyside. In terms of railways, there are numerous stations throughout the city such as Lime Street, South Parkway, and Liverpool Central.
Located to the south of the metropolitan centre is Liverpool John Lennon Airport, around 7 miles away. Low-budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet primarily operate from here with connecting flights offered across the UK and Europe.
You can’t talk about Liverpool without mentioning its illustrious musical heritage, most notably as the birthplace of The Beatles. Nods to the Fab Four are dotted all around the city, none more so than the world famous Cavern Club, a regular haunt of the band in the 60’s, situated on Mathew Street.
The Cavern lines up alongside an eclectic list of many other live music venues, notably the Attic, Sound and Kazimier. The 12,000 capacity Liverpool Echo Arena plays host when big acts are in town, also accommodating large sporting events and conferences. For a more refined music approach, the Philharmonic Hall is the chosen venue for classical concerts.
Liverpool and Everton fc are recognised all around the world, playing their home games at the famous Anfield and Goodison Park stadiums respectively. Other sports tend to play second fiddle to football, although there are plenty of sporting facilities to partake in such as the Awesome Walls climbing centre. Aintree race course is another notable attraction, home of the renowned Grand National horse race every April.
Culturally, Liverpool hosts an impressive array of theatres, museums and galleries. The Museum of Liverpool is well visited, whilst the Liverpool Empire and Unity Theatre stage a whole host of entertainment shows each year.
In terms of retail, Liverpool is well served by various shopping centres, notably St John’s and Liverpool One, and plenty of high street stores also.
Why choose to invest in Liverpool?
Despite its prominent national standing, Liverpool has less expensive house prices compared with the UK average. Terraced properties, accountable for the majority of sales in the city, were priced at just over £100,000 whilst flats were sold at an average of £109,000. These are the main types of property that make up private student accommodation, helped with an ongoing demand year on year.
Although one bedroom rental prices in Liverpool are £500 per calendar month on average, students will be looking at rooms lower than this at around £300 pcm. However, with many of these properties containing 4+ potential bedrooms, the numbers soon become attractive for prospective buyers.
Another thing to consider is the large quantity of international students who relocate to Liverpool, a figure estimated around 6,000 and predicted to rise in the coming years. These students are generally known to prefer higher end housing, a bonus for investors with a larger budget to spare.
Four main universities are located in Liverpool, home to over 50,000 students collectively. They each have their own identity and specialise in different areas of learning. Here is a closer look at each one.
The University Of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is the city’s most prominent higher education institution, founded in 1881 and boasting 9 Nobel Prize winners within its alumni. It offers over 250 Bachelors courses across 54 departments, homing around 19,000 students of mixed nationality.
The main campus is located in the city centre containing an assortment of lecture halls, teaching areas, research facilities and accommodation. The Liverpool Guild of Students – the university’s student union – comprises bars, restaurants, training facilities, and also hosts live events on a regular basis.
John Moores University
John Moores University comprises the largest student population in Liverpool, with a healthy number of new applicants each year. This is due to the reasonable UCAS points requirement alongside substantial 122 undergraduate courses on offer. In addition, the university has links with over 400 companies providing a viable route into employment for many graduates.
The City Campus is near to the prominent Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Museum and Central Library, making it a perfect location for undergraduates to partake in extra-curricular studies. Nearby is the Mount Pleasant Campus, home to the faculty of Business and Law, whilst the I.M Marsh Campus is located in Aigburth which is a short drive away.
Liverpool Hope University
With the main campus situated outside the city centre in Childwall, Liverpool Hope University gives prospective landlords more scope to invest in property away from the metropolitan area. However, the university has fewer students in comparison with its regional counterparts, numbering around 7,000.
The university was founded on Christian principles but does accept applicants from all faiths. Academically, Liverpool Hope is divided into 3 main faculties – Arts and Humanities, Education and Science – which have been the subject of multi-million pound refurbishments over the past few years.
The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (LIPA)
Finally we come to the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, a highly distinguished institution focused on various branches of the arts including music, dance and theatre. The brainchild of Sir Paul McCarthy and opened by the Queen in 1996, LIPA is regularly found near the top of specialist institution ranking tables.
Places are particularly hard to come by, with an acceptance rate of under 5% in recent years. This keeps enrolment numbers down, but because the university doesn’t have associated housing of its own, landlords can still capitalise on the surplus of students looking for private accommodation.
Student Housing Areas
Students across Liverpool tend to congregate in the same areas year on year. Researching these neighbourhoods can be a good starting place for landlords looking to invest in student property.
Students with a higher budget, often from abroad, will usually look to the city centre for their accommodation. The close proximity to their campus, cultural hotspots and other amenities is a natural draw. The number of private residential developments has doubled in recent years, partly because many students are relocating from the outer suburbs.
However, many second and third year students still group together when they move from their halls into one of Liverpool’s outer regions. Within walking distance are the Kensington, Toxeth and Tuebrook areas, popular student-friendly zones. Littered with terraced housing and flats, properties can comprise anything up to 9+ bedrooms.
Further afield lie Wavertree and Picton, with the notable Smithdown Road a prominent student living area. Rent is generally cheaper here and bus services into the centre are regular. Shops, takeaways and parks are all nearby, all part of the idyllic student lifestyle.
With Liverpool John Moores having a campus based at Aigburth, this is another area to consider investing in. A predominantly residential suburb with local amenities, excellent bus links and Sefton Park nearby, rents are generally higher per calendar month here.
When targeting the student market, investors should be aware the market is generally competitive, especially in the prime student living areas as noted above. However, investments are often of a low-risk, high yield nature, topped off with instant equity gain.
Liverpool is certainly up there as one of the top university cities in the UK, with an impressive social scene and thriving student community. This is a big draw for applicants who often consider life outside of the lecture theatre.
Students can delve into the abundance of sporting facilities offered by their respective universities. For example, the University of Liverpool boasts a state of the art fitness centre and numerous grass pitches designed for a variety of sports. There are various clubs and societies to join in fact, from traditional British sports to martial arts and rock climbing.
In terms of nightlife, there is literally something for everyone if and when they decide to hit the town. All tastes in style, music and social scene are catered for across many different parts of the city.
Although Albert Dock plays host to many high quality restaurants and cocktail bars, students will likely flock to the more accessible Concert Square with such recognisable names as Revolution, Walkabout and Baa Baa. Medication is another popular haunt, especially on the cheaper Wednesday nights.
With a booming student population and thriving local economy, Liverpool is a haven for student property over a number of areas in the city. Landlords are guaranteed healthy occupancy rates year on year along with high rental yields. However, they must take the correct precautions before investing and stay within their set budget. Taking out the proper landlord insurance is also highly recommended for student properties.
If you enjoyed this blog post then perhaps you’d like to read “A Guide To Investing In Student Property in Newcastle 2015“?