The ‘face’ of Liverpool, you might call it, putting out a smile across the Irish sea towards Dublin and New York. As a city, the story of the waterfront is probably a perfect allegory for the journey of a jewel of the north from the depression and decay of the 70’s and 80’s through to today.
There’s little need to re-tread those darker days gone by, with the political climate as it is Liverpool is often used as the textbook example of where ‘neoliberalism’ failed. Regeneration hasn’t come cheap, of course, with the local councils pumping millions into the area, as well as Peel Group, owners of the docks, who have also invested huge amounts of money.
The city hit the headlines recently after it was reported that local authorities were selling houses in deprived areas for just £1. The scheme, Homes for a Pound, was launched in 2013 and came with strict conditions. Anybody looking to buy the houses were required to spend £40,000 in the first year to improve their homes and couldn’t sell the houses for at least 5 years.
A whole range of people applied for the scheme, which saw dilapidated houses, with some lacking electricity or plumbing, being sold to people committed to renovating them. Channel 4 recently aired a documentary about the scheme, as we visit the owners 5 years later. Many of the homes are now worth over £100,000 and include a student, a Kenyan family and a single mother.
The mayor went as far as to call them an inspiration, and it’s part of a wider story of hope and hard work that has brought Liverpool to nationwide and global attention in leading the way for wealth creation.
As noted in The Guardian, the economic potential of the region is considerable. While Liverpool was never an industrial city, being concerned more with commerce and distribution, the wider region is home to ship repair yards, chemical plants, glassmaking, pharmaceuticals, motor manufacture and light industry.
There are also a number of educational institutions in the city, hosting 3 universities and a number of colleges and training facilities. The number of students deciding to settle in the city after graduation is rising, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s not just the bustling and exciting nightlife, with bars and restaurants constantly busy and teeming, but also the city’s business-friendly attitude to nurturing entrepreneurship and endeavour.
In terms of house prices and construction, the city centre is booming. Buy-to-let and off-plan property is increasing all over, and construction is visible almost all over the city. According to an article in The Express from November, the city is also expected to see its property prices increase by over 20%
Graham Davidson, managing director of a buy-to-let specialist, was quoted as saying: “With cities like Manchester tipped for a 28.2 per cent price growth and Liverpool expected to see a 22.8 per cent increase, key northern cities should be on every investor’s radar.”
Culture, nightlife, business, education, heritage and wealth in Liverpool are all on the up, and it’s making it an ideal place for investors to put their money, whether that’s in one of the many new business start-ups, in off-plan property or in a buy-to-let portfolio, Liverpool is currently one of the hottest cities in Europe.