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South Wales: a sexy place to invest?

19th April 2007 | back to article listings BACK    send this article to a friend via email SEND TO A FRIEND  print this article PRINT

South Wales may not be the first name on everybody's lips when asked to name an area that is synonymous with celebrity glamour, but it is heading that way, a property consultant has claimed. Given that the likes of Catherine Zeta Jones and Charlotte Church are known to have snapped up property in the province, it is now a "sexy" place to invest, according to 1st Property Investment.

Despite the somewhat tongue-in-cheek reasoning, there is solid evidence to back the claim that a property in South Wales may represent a good investment. Encompassing the city of Cardiff, the area has seen rising property prices in recent years, fuelled by a growing economy which is grounded in something a little more solid than celebrity exports.

According to a property broker that King Sturges, the retail sector is "having a major impact" on the South Wales economy and "providing thousands of new jobs". Regional website icWales estimates that the sector accounts for around a third of the building projects currently being undertaken in the province, worth an estimated £1 billion. These projects, the website predicts, will provide around 3,000 jobs for the local workforce.

Andy Smith, managing director of 1st Property Investment, says that the economy is a major reason that buy-to-let investors may wish to look at a property purchase in South Wales. "Fifteen years ago," he explains, people in search of work "upped sticks and moved to London". Now, however, "they've all gone home, because they've got jobs there, there's an economy".

It stands to reason that a strong economy may not only be tempting back the exiles, but also drawing in economic migrants from surrounding areas. In such a climate, there is likely to be strong demand in the property rentals market, which may perhaps be an attractive prospect for potential landlords. Mr Smith states that areas of the province that are wells served by motorway links have seen "really strong" growth in recent years. "The top three places that have grown over the last five years have all been in Wales…a lot of these areas have been where the local council don't really like a lot of development and because of that it's forcing forward house prices," he added.

Rising house prices again is another key indicator that an area may represent a good investment for landlords, as young professionals are often more willing - or able - to rent rather than buy.

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