Over the last few years, many regional city centres have undergone radical transformations, developing dedicated commercial, professional and residential hubs ideal for working professionals and families.
As more workers look to take advantage of the employment opportunities becoming available, city-centre living is also on the rise.
This mirrors a shift in working trends, as transient working becomes a thing of the past. More people are working from home or looking for shorter commutes and there has been a decline in the number of people travelling for a fixed workplace.
The net effect of this is a huge drop in annual commuters from 8.5 billion to 7.9 billion, despite increasing economic and population growth.
Generation Rent is showing that there’s a huge appetite for housing the heart of the action, with many tenants wanting entertainment, leisure and work opportunities on their doorstep. As infrastructure investments such as HS2 connect the North of the UK with the capital and transport links improve, key locations are building unprecedented access with each other, revolutionising employment opportunities.
City-centre residential units are also seeing a huge rise in standards of quality. They’re becoming more luxurious, offering a better standard of living, smart features and unrivaled access to the amenities in the local area. With property improving, more people are happy to put down roots and enjoy what there is to offer around them.
These changing trends are seeing a rise in the creation of close-knit communities, with city-centre areas such as the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham developing themselves as individual hubs, offering a great lifestyle all in easy reach.
This has been represented by the astronomical growth of city-centre living over the last 10 years, which has grown by 37% between 2001 and 2011. The concentration of jobs in the city-centre has also risen by a similar amount, showing how closely tied the two statistics are.
The benefits on offer in the city centre are also persuading large businesses to settle, taking advantage of the excellent employee pool who are often within walking distance. As the quality of businesses in the area improves, more graduates and young professionals are attracted to the city-centre, contributing to the rise of Generation Rent and the shift towards city-centre living.
As the UK continues to specialise in knowledge-based roles and activities, this demand for city living will continue to increase. In less-developed city centres, the challenge will be to attract higher-skilled investment and drive tenant demand. Affordability will also play a huge role, providing alternatives to the capital. In regional cities where affordability is still good and economic potential is excellent, the demand for city-centre living will be most visible.