Just over 10 years ago, the world woke up to the start of what would become one of the worst financial crises in living memory – the credit crunch. No part of the economy escaped unscathed, and the property market experienced its fair share of falling prices, and alarming headlines. Now, as any investor knows (property or otherwise), you have to take the downs with the ups. The credit crunch wasn’t the first economic hit for property, and it won’t be the last.
As the 10th anniversary of the start of the credit crunch came and went, it got me thinking. What has happened to property prices in the UK over those 10 years? Which parts of the UK have fared better, and which are still struggling? Taking a look at the average property values in some of the most investable cities in the UK, makes some very interesting reading:
• London and Greater London were the first to return to pre-credit crunch values in 2010 and 2011 respectively
• Edinburgh, Bristol and Cardiff recovered 3 years later in 2014
• Birmingham, Dundee and Manchester took until 2015
• Leeds recovered only last year
• Glasgow and Liverpool have not yet recovered to pre 2007/08 levels.
The level of recovery is also stark. The average house price in Greater London has increased by 67% since 2007, while the next best city is Bristol, at 40%. Rather surprisingly, Leeds has only increased by 7%, and Manchester by 19%.
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Over the years I’ve had numerous discussions with friends, colleagues and clients about the benefits, or otherwise, of investing in London over other cities in the UK. I get it – London is expensive, rental yields can be lower, and surely the bubble is going to burst at some point, right? Conversely, the likes of Leeds and Manchester are looking relatively cheap.
The reality is that it’s easy to make the case for any given city if you look at capital appreciation and/ or rental yield at a given point in time. But property investment decisions should never be made based on the here and now. And neither should they be made for short term gain. If it’s long term, resilient capital growth you are looking for, history suggests that London is still very hard to beat.