The Property Investment Brief: Bristol, UK

Where next to invest? We profile property hotspots around the world, detailing everything an investor needs to know.

The Essentials

plane icon
House Prices
Up 5.6% y-o-y (June 2017 – Hometrack)
train icon
3.3% (South West, Your Move)
car icon
51 days to sell (Post Office)

Where is it?

Located in England’s South West, the city of Bristol is the largest city in the region, sitting not far from the coast, with the River Avon feeding from the coast inland. Once an industrial city, the city has become a major cultural hub in the UK without losing its roots, combining creative sectors with its history from the area, which ranges from Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge to its redeveloped old docks.

Who lives there?

Bristol is one of the largest ceremonial counties in England, with over 400,000 people living in the area. That population is growing, thanks to its employment opportunities for young people in the creative and technology sector, which means that the city has a sizeable student population without depending upon students for its local economy. The result is an appealing, welcoming metropolis that was crowned Britain’s most liveable city in 2017 by The Sunday Times.

Why invest?

The UK is surrounded by headlines and speculation about the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union upon the country’s economy and future. London’s property market, has slowed down, thanks to the introduction of new stamp duty rules and rising prices. The UK’s buy-to-let sector, too, is facing headwinds in the form of new tax laws. Bristol’s appeal to investors is therefore simple: it is one of the fastest-growing housnig markets in the country.

Last year, house prices in the city were rising 9.5 per cent year-on-year, the quickest annual increase in the UK. In 2017, the city is enjoying the country’s seventh fastest house price growth, with property values up 5.1 per cent year-on-year. For investors seeking capital growth, Bristol is hard to beat: house prices are now 68.3 per cent above their post-financial critis trough, the fourth best improvement by any UK city. The average property value is now £270,900, above the national average of £211,2000, but still significantly more affordable than London, Cambridge, Oxford and Bournemouth.

Affordability and uncertainty remain factors to consider, but last year, the city demonstrated its resilience, boasting the fastest-selling houses in the UK, with homes taking just 51 days to find a buyer once they hit the market – almost half the national average of 91 days recorded by Post Office Money Mortgages.

Price growth has slowed in recent months, with values up just 0.7 per cent in June 2017 and 2.8 per cent in the three months to June. Nonetheless, compared to the London property market, which has significantly cooled after years of rapid price hikes, Bristol remains affordable and growing. The structural undersupply of housing, meanwhile, means that in the long-term, investors can expect reliable returns alongside income from the shorter term rental market (the South West has a yield of 3.2 per cent, according to Your Move’s latest buy-to-let index) or immediate capital growth. Combined with the weak pound, in the wake of the Brexit vote, Bristol is proof that the UK’s regional cities are where some of the best opportunities can be found.

Who’s Investing?

London buyers are investing their money into Bristol, as a place to set up a life away from the capital, but overseas interest can also be expected from Chinese and Asian investors, seeking an attractive slice of the UK’s safe haven pie, and US buyers, taking advantage of the strong dollar against the pound.

Agents say…

“Bristol is proof that the UK’s regional cities are where some of the best opportunities can be found.”


Find out more:

View properties for sale in Bristol


Photo: / Vicky Johnson