If you look at regional UK city centres you will notice that over recent years many of them have undergone some dramatic changes. The development of ideal living situations for working professionals and families includes dedicated professional, commercial, and residential zones.
More and more workers are looking to capitalise on employment opportunities becoming available in these areas and as a result – city centre living is on the rise.
Another driver for this shift in behaviour is likely the modern trend of people working from home, and/or seeking a shorter commute to work. Short term work is declining, as is the number of people travelling for a fixed workplace.
This has resulted in a drop of annual commuters from 8.5 billion to 7.9 billion. What is significant about this decline is that it has come during a time of economic and population growth.
City centre living grew by a staggering 37% over 2001 to 2011. Jobs in the city centre trended closely with that figure. The younger generation are getting married later (if ever), having children later (if ever), and buying property later (if ever). They are generation rent, and by and large what they want to do is live close to ‘the action’ i.e. employment, entertainment, and leisure activities.
It is also worth noting that sacrificing the space that one might find in the suburbs is an easier decision to make these days, as the quality of inner city units has risen significantly, and this has likely contributed to the shift.
The UK has a specialty for knowledge-based roles and activities. As a result of this, the demand for city centre living will continue to increase, especially in the regional cities (particularly those benefiting from the government’s Northern Powerhouse scheme – such as Liverpool and Manchester) where affordability is much easier to meet.