The appeal of the North West to investors continues to grow as the region’s resilience to the ongoing political and economic turbulence becomes more apparent.
Layers of activity have taken place across many different commercial sectors in the past 12 months, helping to strengthen its position as a leading region for investment within the UK.
2018 cemented itself as a robust year across a number of asset classes in the North West, predominantly driven by the strength of the underlying occupational markets.
The industrial sector enjoyed a standout performance last year with investment volumes remaining resilient at £503.29 million for the year, and the region enjoyed a very strong year of take-up, reaching 4.58 million sq ft and representing a 26 per cent increase above the long-term average.
City centre offices in both Liverpool and Manchester have also seen their markets go from strength to strength. From an occupational perspective, Manchester continues to perform strongly, witnessing its highest take up figure on record in 2018, and Liverpool has certainly caught up in terms of occupier demand.
Another sector that has performed well across the North West is the hotels market, which has enjoyed strong transactional activity, attracting over £1 billion of investment in 2018, accounting for 17 per cent of total UK hotel transactions last year.
With regards to the retail sector, the outlook for the North West is displaying resilience despite the industry as a whole facing well-documented challenges. Both Manchester and Liverpool provide an exceptionally strong retail offer, in and out of town, giving the cities a strong foundation upon which to tackle these headwinds and evolve accordingly.
The favourable supply and demand dynamics within the region are helping drive the attraction of investment opportunities within the North West, as well as the appealing yields that become apparent when comparing Manchester and Liverpool not only with London, but also with cities of a similar quality elsewhere in Europe.
Manchester and Liverpool also benefit from a high quality of life and affordable housing, which have been fundamental in encouraging strong graduate retention rates leading to a diverse talent pool and varied economy.
Looking ahead, while we know that we can expect more uncertainty throughout this year, the appetite from investors in the region remains clear to see and while some may have paused their decision making during the first quarter of this year, it is simply just that – a pause and not a withdrawal.