Why are so many people moving to Bristol?

Published Jul 1, 2015 – 2 mins read

You might not know this, but Bristol has been experiencing the same increases in house prices recently as Surrey, Brighton and London, according to recent figures from the Land Registry.

These reveal that house prices here have risen by 10.8% over the past 12 months. To me, and anyone else who knows the city’s property market, this is not a surprise.

Extraordinary demand for a wide variety of homes in Bristol has helped push up house prices and rents in the city. It’s not unusual for a property to be put on the market and to quickly gain 40 viewings during the initial days on the market and then receive above-asking-price offers.
The reasons for this are varied.

On top of the usual local and regional demand for homes in Bristol, buyers are being joined by a growing number of foreign purchasers looking for somewhere either for their offspring to live in while they attend one of the city’s two universities, or to live in while working in the region. I’ve had clients who worked outside of the area, but wanted to find a home here because it’s a bigger, more vibrant city with better facilities.

On top of these people come the London buyers, who make up around 10% of all purchasers in the £1m+ property market, and one in twenty for properties in lower price brackets1.

Arrivals from London are often clutching newspaper cuttings that explain the city’s popularity. It was voted the best city to live in last year by the Sunday Times, is a strong cycling city and can rival London on fashion, food, theatres, green spaces and up-and-coming areas (such as Stokes Croft).

I am also often asked to find buy-to-let properties for clients in both the general and the student rental market both of which are performing strongly, offering promising returns for investors. For example, it was recently revealed that Bristol enjoys better rental yields than London.2

Renters fall into three distinct groups here – private renters working in the city, students, and corporate employees on secondments with the city’s thriving aerospace, defence, media, tourism, IT and financial services industries.

The main hotspots in Bristol for students are the areas around the University of Bristol campus so Clifton, Cotham and Redland while a little bit further out (and less expensive both to buy and rent) buyers are interested in Henleaze, and Westbury-on-Trym.

But remember that Clifton is more expensive than other areas – it has a lot of students – whereas Henleaze and Stoke Bishop are more family orientated.

Another area that is thriving and where new developments are popping up is the harbourside area and city centre – where several large developments have been completed recently including Crest Nicholson’s Invicta building, and where many landlords bought properties.

But whatever reason drives you to buy in Bristol, it is a city on a roll and has an economy that survived the recession well – last year we had the highest employment rates of the UK’s nine, core English cities.



Sources: 1Savills Bristol, 2015. 2Knight Frank Residential Research, 2014. 2Knight Frank Residential Research, July 2014.