South West economy set for major growth

By Anita Jaynes on 10 August, 2015

The South West’s economy is expected to grow by a staggering 27% over the next decade, according to a detailed study into the region.

British Living, an in-depth report compiled by property firm CBRE, explores key indicators including house prices, wages and population, across 29 of Great Britain’s towns and cities.

The findings spell good news for the economies of Bristol, Bath, Swindon and Exeter, with all four locations scoring highly in most areas and expected to benefit from the billions of pounds in investment set to pour into the region over the next ten years.

Bristol is identified as one of the fastest growing and most affluent cities in the UK, with good quality of life, a young and aspirational population and high employment rates key reasons for its economic success.

The city’s economy is expected to grow faster than the national average, with forecast GDP growth of 32% over the next decade.

The average house costs £248,287 and with a relatively young population there is a higher than average number of people renting.

As a result, the average rent for a two bed property has increased by 7% over the last year (close to double the national average of 4%) and currently stands at £886 per month.

Bath has always been an affluent city, with low unemployment rates and average earnings of £41,955, which is 14% higher than the national average.

The city’s property market is dominated by homeowners, with just 17% of properties occupied by rent payers.

As a result, average house prices in the Georgian city are around 50% higher than the national and regional average at £368,108, having grown by 9% over the last year and 43% over the last decade.

The housing market in Exeter has struggled in recent years but there are signs of the recovery starting to take a firmer grip.

Benefiting from £70m in regeneration, the city enjoyed 16% house price growth over the last year alone, double that of the regional and national average of 8%.

The average home costs £261,869 and this is expected to grow by 27% over the next ten years.

Exeter has also been identified as one of the top ten most profitable places to have a business, with major regeneration projects worth £70m in the pipeline.

Swindon’s economy is one of the strongest in the region thanks to the presence of a number of major firms including Honda, BMW and Nationwide.

With £750m to be pumped into the town, there are high hopes of economic growth of around 30% over the next decade.

House prices are relatively affordable, with the average of £187,658 nearly a third lower than the national average, while average rental values have increased 11% over the last year alone.

Guy Mansfield, Head of National Land & Development at CBRE Bristol, said: “This report makes for some very encouraging reading when it comes to the state of the economy in the major population centres in the South West.

“There is no doubt that we have every reason to feel positive about the future and we are looking at major economic growth combined with a healthy property market for many years to come.

“As major infrastructure improvements take place across the UK, the Government’s vision of connecting Britain’s towns and cities is already showing fruition.

“However, our research does highlight the need to build more homes, as the supply and demand imbalance remains more significant than ever.”

Pictured above: Guy Mansfield of CBRE Bristol