The business membership chamber, located in the city region, has been cheerleading for Sheffield business and investment for years, but it seems more excited than it has for a long time about the city’s prospects in the quickly approaching New Year.
In the 12 months after the Brexit referendum, beacon of uncertainty and business anxiety, the chamber says that the city’s economy will be £80m larger than it was in 2016.
It reports that The UK Powerhouse report, produced for Irwin Mitchell by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), predicts that the value of goods and services produced in Sheffield will grow by 0.7% during 2017 despite the challenges of Brexit uncertainty and rising inflation.
Sheffield City Council, in promoting their economic strategy, have set their sights on ‘Bigger Economy, Better Business and Faster Growth’ according to their online report.
It believes that the ‘prosperity gap’, highlighting what Sheffield does produce and what it could produce, is a staggering £1.6bn. For a local economy that could already be considered strong that’s a huge amount of potential to be exploited in a relatively small area.
In order to maximise that potential the city has a plan to close that gap by 2020 by concentrating, it says, on making Sheffield “a strong, sustainable, international economy driven by enterprise, innovation and knowledge. The city will be known for its distinctive and high performing sectors, its unrivalled quality of place and its highly skilled workforce.”
It aims to increase its competitiveness by moving into the top 175 competitive European cities, to increase Gross Value Added (GVA) per head to £20,200 from £17,752, increase private sector knowledge jobs by more than 3%, increase wages by over £3,000 per year and improve the employment rate to 67.9% from 64.1%.
These are all rather ambitious targets to meet in just over two years but the city region has already proven its ability to rise to a challenge by creating a booming property sector, especially in buy-to-let and off-plan property.
Construction and renovation projects are currently booming in the city, and inviting attention from across the region. The Northern Powerhouse project certainly hasn’t done the city any harm, either, with The Treasury announcing further investment into busy travel infrastructure recently; making it easy for the city to link up with Manchester, Leeds and other big areas.
Rental yields in the S9 Sheffield postcode, for example, are currently a staggering 8.51% according to Totally Money, with average rents growing to a very healthy £701.
They’re increasing, too, with performance over the past 5 years on a steady upward curve according to the same data.
The city also has a large student presence, with two prominent universities both within walking distance of the city centre. With both offering a wide variety of valuable degrees and the price of London property ever-increasing, the council are finding graduates settling in the region in higher and higher numbers.
This is good news for the city as the skilled workforce increases and contributes towards achieving their target of a highly skilled, well paid workforce. These people need housing, too, and this in turn explains the increasing values of Sheffield property as young professionals settle in for the long term.
According to statistics from last year, the largest sector for employment was retail, accounting for 16.6% of jobs in the region, but the fastest growing sectors were in information technology and creative sectors. Like Leeds and Manchester, the city plays host to innovative and profitable creative sectors working in digital marketplaces such as programming, app development and web creation.
All of these ingredients together make for a compelling case by the city for its 2020 project. Some may look at those aspirations and consider them ambitious, but when some scrutiny is applied to the makeup of those ambitions we might consider them more realistic.
Statistically, Sheffield property is growing and becoming more profitable whilst its residents become more skilled and attain better wages. The mood in the city, whilst unmeasurable to an extent, is said to be one of excitement and of looking to the future.
We can look at this again in 2020 but, for now, Sheffield’s plans don’t look ambitious, they look exciting and realistic.
If you’re looking to invest in Sheffield contact us today to find out about our unmissable opportunities in this fantastic city!