Bradford is a city on the rise and is one of the areas with the most potential for future growth in the north of England. Situated in West Yorkshire, the city is part of the wider metropolitan borough of the City of Bradford, which includes several local towns and villages that make up a population of nearly 540,000 – making it the seventh most populated district in England.
For many years, property investment in Bradford hasn’t drawn the headlines as much as in other northern cities, such as neighbouring Leeds or Sheffield. However, investors are now looking further afield in search of better deals and stronger returns, and Bradford, as we’ll see, ticks plenty of boxes for buy-to-let landlords.
Like much of the north, Bradford had a key role to play in the UK’s booming textile industry throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Traditionally, it had been a small but successful textile town with only a few thousand residents. The city began to grow rapidly as the town became internationally recognised for the quality of its wool products. More textile mills followed, and the population continued to swell. Quarrying, mining and ironwork were also major employers. All of these contributed to great economic growth for the city, albeit at the disadvantage of workers, who endured poor and dirty living conditions.
Then, when Britain’s grip over these industries began to loosen through the 20th century, the city’s fortunes also took a turn – the effects of which are still felt in many parts of Bradford today. However, the city’s legacy as an international centre of textile manufacturing can still be felt through its listed Victorian architecture and countless reinvigoration projects that have been designed to breathe new life into the city.
There are many clear signs of adaptation and regeneration. The city has received an £80m grant from the UK government’s ‘Transforming Cities Fund’. Much of this will be spent on updating the city centre, introducing pedestrianised zones, improving public transport and increasing the range of shopping, eating and leisure facilities.
This is further backed by an economic strategy that intends to make Bradford the UK’s fastest-growing economy within the next decade. The strategy identifies a number of ways to do this, including the upskilling of residents, improving transport infrastructure and leveraging the city’s unique assets (such as mass regeneration).
The city already has a thriving economy worth £11.6bn. This makes it the 10th largest in England after growing by 16% between 2014 and 2019. The rapid growth has been helped by a number of major employers maintaining headquarters within the city, such as Morrisons, Yorkshire Water, and Yorkshire Building Society.
It’s also clear that investors are now starting to cotton on to the fact that property in Bradford remains relatively low-cost relative to the rest of the UK, and is considered to be a hidden gem for those looking slightly further afield.
Why is Bradford a Good Choice for Property Investors?
Over the last year, the average price of a property in Bradford was just over £185,000 according to data from Rightmove (as of June 2023, this may have changed).
This puts the cost of purchase well below many of its regional neighbours. Consider, for example, that the average price of a property in the Leeds city region (which is just 13 kilometres eastwards) was £257,830 over the same time period.
The rental market around Bradford city centre is also strong, fuelled by a thriving job market, quick connections to Leeds Bradford International Airport and close proximity to Leeds, making it very easy for workers to commute between the two cities. Industry data suggests the region generates average yields between 6.5% to 8.5% for studio, one and two-bed properties.
The city’s property market performance makes it an excellent choice for investors looking to diversify their portfolios. It’s a low-cost, low-risk region that is highly likely to generate excellent long-term returns through both rental income and capital appreciation.
If you’re interested in property investment in Bradford, get in touch with our team to discuss your options.
Property Investment Options In Bradford
In our opinion, there are plenty of reasons why buy-to-let investors should be interested in Bradford as a potential purchase opportunity. It may require more work than flipping a property (although this is debatable if you use a management company), but the long-term benefits far outweigh the quick profit made by buying, renovating and selling.
After all, given the strong rental yields and accessible property prices that Bradford offers, a buy-to-let should run profitably. This allows the investor to build equity (useful for expanding a portfolio further in the future), boost monthly income, and benefit from the natural long-term growth in the value of rental properties.
Alternatively, buyers could consider investing in student accommodation in Bradford. There are over 10,000 students in the city, thanks to the University of Bradford, which offers a wide variety of higher education courses and degrees.
Although we have seen more than a few cases of landlords successfully adding to their rental property portfolio with student buy-to-lets in Bradford, you may find that other northern cities offer a better long-term deal. Major university cities like Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Manchester are all nearby, with much higher student numbers and plenty of PBSA schemes in progress. Bradford, in comparison, does not offer as strong a case for student property investment.
Top 5 Buy-To-Let Areas In Bradford
So, which are the best postcodes to consider when investing in Bradford rental property? Let’s take a look at a few property investment hotspots for buy-to-lets in the local area.
BD1 – Bradford City Centre
The city centre of Bradford offers exceptional investment opportunities and was recently ranked first for rental yields on our UK Buy to Let Yield Map 2023, with an average yield of 10.7%. Property prices are surprisingly low for a city centre area – £64,805 on average – which makes BD1 a very affordable entry point for new and experienced landlords alike.
Residents here benefit from the central location and close proximity to amenities, venues, restaurants, universities, city parks and employment opportunities. BD1 has excellent transport links, including a train station and bus networks, which can attract tenants looking for convenience and accessibility to travel for work or leisure.
BD3 – Thornbury, Barkerend
BD3 is a bustling, vibrant area of Bradford that lies to the northeast of the city centre. Here you’ll find affordable property prices – averaging between £90,000 and 115,000 – and strong rental demand from professionals who work in the city centre. Expected annual yields here are typically around 6.9%.
The area is brought to life by diverse communities and cultures and is a focal point for the ongoing regeneration projects undertaken by the local council. As such, BD3 has fantastic growth potential, and investment here is likely to be considered a shrewd move in years to come.
BD7 – Great Horton, Lister Park
The BD7 postcode lies to the west of the city and is well-connected with excellent bus routes to the centre. Due to its close proximity to the University of Bradford, this area is a notable hotspot for buy-to-let investment, particularly for landlords who prefer catering to the local student population.
The student market delivers stable demand and returns for rental properties, especially for HMOs or dedicated student accommodation.
BD8 – Girlington, Manningham, Belle Vue
The area around Girlington and Manningham boasts plenty of local shops, supermarkets, restaurants and leisure facilities, all of which help to create a positive living experience for local tenants. You’ll also find Valley Parade nearby, home of the historic Bradford City FC, which attracts thousands of football fans every weekend during the season.
BD8 is also close to a number of schools and colleges, making it an attractive area for families and professionals who are looking to enrol their children. Landlords also benefit from some demand for student accommodation due to the nearby University of Bradford.
BD5 – Canterbury, Holme Top, Little Horton
BD5 covers the area directly south of the city, including the popular areas of Canterbury and Holme Top. St. Luke’s Hospital is located here, which means there is strong rental demand from doctors, nurses and other workers looking for a short commute to the hospital.
With an average property price of £105,316 and an average rental yield of 6.1%, it’s easy to see why BD5 is an attractive prospect for buy-to-let landlords looking for a great deal.
Thinking About Buy-to-Let Investment Properties in Bradford?
If you’re weighing up your options around the Bradford area, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your situation and the main objectives for your next investment.