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What makes Bradford an impressive up-and-coming urban centre?

Bradford is one of the UK’s great Northern cities and it is realising its huge potential as an economic centre. It has become an outstanding place to live, and also to invest in buy to let property. Located within a district renowned for its natural beauty, the city is an expanding student centre. Bradford is also home to some affordable properties, which makes it an ideal place to invest for first time house buyers. As an upcoming city of culture of 2025, Bradford is the first UNESCO city of film. Its strong tradition of industry, young and growing population and business-friendly environment combine to make Bradford one of the country’s most impressive up-and-coming cities and property investment hotspots.


Young, growing population


Substantial rise in number of households that need homes


Building rates cannot keep up


Potential for high ROI in a short timescale

Why invest in
Bradford property?

Bradford is one of the UK’s youngest cities, but also one of the five largest in the country with a total population of more than 546,000, according to the 2022 Census. In addition, Council estimates show that the city’s population could grow by another 20,000 (3.7%) by the end of the decade.

Furthermore, the Census shows that the overall number of households in the city has increased by more than 10% in the last decade to a total of more than 200,000. The number of new homes built has not kept up with this rise, and higher demand has led to higher prices.

Rightmove records that the average property price in the city is just over £145,000. This is 6% above the pre-pandemic peak. Furthermore, Bradford was named a property hotspot for 2021, while in 2022 its rental yields of 11.6% have exceeded those of all other UK cities. JLL projections show that Bradford, as part of Yorkshire, could see further house price growth of up to 21% by 2026 – making it perfect for homebuyers and buy to let investors.

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Projected house price growth by 2026 (JLL)
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Projected rental growth by 2026 (JLL)
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House price growth in the year to March 2022 (Hometrack)

Life in Bradford

Reasons to make the move

There is plenty of history, architecture, and shopping to be enjoyed in Bradford, making the city the perfect place for a day out with friends or family. The city also has easy access to green space – despite being known as an industrial town.

Bradford’s cityscape is defined by mill chimneys and grand Victorian structures jutting into the skyline. Yet over half of the district is green open space, and includes the famous Ilkley moor, the brooding Bronte country and the model village of Saltaire.

economic growth

Bradford’s economy is healthy and vibrant. City Council figures show that its total size of £11.6bn which makes it the tenth largest city economy in England and the third largest in Yorkshire. Most importantly, it is catching up with its larger neighbours quickly. Economic growth of 16% was recorded in the five years to 2019.

As you would expect from an economy of this size, Bradford is a business friendly location, for both buy to let investments and other financial ventures. More than 16,000 businesses call the city home, employing more than 250,000 people overall and creating an estimated £30bn of value for the British economy each year. Large companies headquartered in the district include Morrisons, Yorkshire Water and Yorkshire Building Society.

Bradford is also strong when it comes to start-ups. Barclays Bank SME Growth Factors Index has previously named Bradford as the best place in the UK thanks to lower start up costs and other supporting factors. Likewise, the City Council notes that Bradford has been named as one of the UK’s top 20 cities for business growth by the Sunday Times.

Economy stats


The size of Bradford’s economy (Bradford City Council)


Economic growth in the five years to 2019 (Bradford City Council)


Bradford is well on the way to a modern transformation and the City Council has created the Bradford Economic Partnership to keep the forward momentum going and make sure Bradford fulfils its potential.


The plan notes that the next decade will be crucial and that the district has “great assets to draw upon, including an enterprising and growing population, innovative businesses, strong knowledge institutions, a tradition of private and public partnership and increasing momentum provided by the regeneration of our city and town centres.”


The plan covers all areas of the economy from the largest infrastructure developments to the most local skills training. It is a comprehensive, ambitious plan which fits a city like Bradford, and it is just the kind of plan which will draw people and businesses to the city in great numbers.

HS2 high speed rail

The future development of Manchester’s rail links is headlined by the HS2 high speed rail line. This is under construction and, when complete, has the potential to double the size of Manchester’s economy and provide 96,000 jobs to the city.

HS2 journey times when completed:

  • London – 1 hr 7 mins
  • Birmingham – 40 mins

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport has completed its £1bn masterplan project and is the UK’s only twin-runway airport outside London. It is the international gateway to the North of England and is a major factor in Manchester’s attractiveness to international students and businesses.

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