A cornerstone of the UK’s Silicon Valley
Bracknell should be on the radar of every investor thanks to the large-scale regeneration and global technology firms that are driving professional demand. Directly linked with the capital, Heathrow Airport and other key destinations around the South East, Bracknell is a prime commuter location that has a lot to offer working professionals looking for a thriving, affordable market.
Home to around 120,000 people, Bracknell is in the midst of rapid growth, with experts forecasting a population of 141,000 by 2039. Despite this huge expansion, employment figures remain strong with only 2.5% of the population unemployed and around 55% in Managerial or Directorial roles. For investors, Bracknell represents the opportunity to benefit from two tenant bases – an ultra-skilled domestic workforce and those who commute to the capital.
A key driver in the growth of Bracknell is the progressive regeneration project the town centre is currently experiencing. The large-scale project is designed to enhance key transport, infrastructure, healthcare and education programs while creating iconic new residential, commercial and retail spaces.
London vs Bracknell Property Investment
In the current market, Bracknell has an average property price of £362,338 which makes the area much more affordable than its surroundings, compared to surrounding popular areas such as London (£729,105), Woking (£483,075) and Guildford (£534,993). Bracknell has seen price rises of 249% since 1999 and continues to represent a more valuable proposition which is forecasting incredible growth.
During 2018, some areas of Bracknell Forest Council saw property prices rise by nearly 19%. With the South East market set to outpace the national average by 2022, growing by around 3% each year to make up a cumulative 12%, Bracknell will sit at the heart of the fastest-growing region in the UK.
A key driver in the growth of Bracknell is the huge amount of regeneration that is ongoing through the Bracknell Town Centre Vision: A 20-year masterplan due to complete in 2032 that will deliver iconic new residential, commercial and retail spaces. With nearly £770 million of regeneration committed to the region, Bracknell Forest Council is looking to develop every aspect of the town centre for both investors and residents. Over four phases, the dynamic plan will blend quality residential, commercial, retail and leisure developments with exceptional employment opportunities.
Crossrail/Western Rail Access to Heathrow
One of the most significant combinations of infrastructure improvements in the UK, the arrival of Crossrail and new direct links to Heathrow (which is also expanding) will dramatically improve accessibility between Bracknell and key destinations in the South. Bracknell’s transport connections are expanding and improving every day thanks to a wave of regeneration, putting Reading just 22 minutes away while London is accessible in under an hour. Road connections with the M3 and M4 have also been improved, ensuring that Bracknell maintains its status as a prime commuter destination.
£240 million development – The Lexicon
The jewel in the crown of Bracknell’s transformation is The Lexicon. Featuring celebratory public realm spaces, arched glass vaulted walkways and festival plazas, this iconic development highlights the potential within this elegant and understated town. The Lexicon has transformed the centre into a vibrant retail and leisure destination as part of a £240 million joint venture project between Legal & General Capital and Schroder UK Real Estate. Over 1 million sq.ft of high-end retail space has been created which boasts retailers such as Fenwick, Waitrose, Joules, L’Occitane and Marks & Spencer.
Home to Technology Giants
Bracknell is a vital hub for the world’s technology industries. A major catalyst of its expansion is its evolution as a digital hub, helping form the cornerstone of the UK tech corridor alongside Reading. Bracknell’s technology sector has provided the basis for market growth over the last 10 years, with nearly 40% of office takeup by tech firms. Local employment in Bracknell is driven by some of the world’s most forward-thinking corporate companies including HP, Dell, Honda, Hitachi and Waitrose and Partners, occupying key commercial space and developing a talented professional workforce.
UK’s Silicon Valley
The UK tech sector is accelerating faster than the wider economy. According to the 2018 Tech Nation Report, it grew from £170 to £184 billion between 2016 and 2018, expanding two-and-a-half times faster than the rest of the country’s economy. The M4 corridor is where the UK’s technology sector has grown and flourished for close to 30 years – hosting the world’s top technology firms including Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. Dubbed the UK’s ‘Silicon Valley’, the tech corridor stretches throughout Berkshire and the Thames Valley, encompassing hotspots such as Reading, Bracknell, Slough and into Milton Keynes.
The entirety of the UK’s Silicon Valley is experiencing a boost in population – none more so than Bracknell. While the town was originally built for 25,000, it’s now home to 120,000 and growing. By 2039, experts are predicting an uplift in the total population to 141,000, making Bracknell one of the fastest growing regions in the UK. There is a huge demand for premium housing for the talented workforce that is already present in the area, battling a chronic undersupply of residential property which will ensure sustainable growth and set the stage for the next evolution of the UK sector.
Another big signpost for investors looking at opportunities in the commuter belt is the continued decline of London property prices and the number of residents moving to more affordable markets. ONS figures show that property price growth in the capital has slowed to a new six-and-a-half-year low and nearly double the number of residents are leaving for less expensive regions.
This is where commuter towns such as Bracknell can flourish – offering much lower property prices without compromising on direct access across the South East. Productivity is always important for both investors and tenants, especially when making a decision on an investment. As 2019 continues and regional areas in the wider market perform, Bracknell is demonstrating the high-level of productivity it is maintaining and even expanding upon, drawing huge investor and tenant demand.
Future of the UK’s Silicon Valley
Looking ahead to the future of the UK tech sector, established areas such as Bracknell and Reading are expecting continued growth as new markets emerge. Bracknell experienced price rises of 19% during 2018. Over the next three years, the South East as a whole is set to outpace the national average, growing by around 3% each year to make up a cumulative 12% increase by 2022. This will put Bracknell at the heart of the fastest-growing region in the UK, driven by new development projects such as Princess Dock and The Lexicon.
In the next few years, we’ll also begin to see the foundations of the ‘Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford’ corridor, which is aiming to be the UK’s newest ‘city region’ by 2040, developing itself as a major tech hub and expanding the ‘traditional’ tech corridor. Boasting four of the UK’s fastest-growing and most productive destinations, a highly-skilled workforce, cutting edge research facilities and technology clusters, the Cambridge – Oxford corridor is also supported by two-world class universities. According to CBRE, it has the potential to be ‘one of the largest economic and property development schemes the UK has ever seen.’
While uncertainty is still a major aspect of the UK property market in 2019, the UK’s Silicon Valley looks set to benefit from the below-average performance of the London market. As an investment opportunity, areas such as Bracknell are growing in popularity because of their relative affordability and the abundance of both tenant demand and employment opportunities available.
Similar to the rising popularity of the commuter belt, the tech corridor is showcasing large-scale regeneration to attract inward investment from multiple sources and all while expanding its ambitious, young workforce.
While the region itself is established, the continuing success of the UK tech industry has truly put these towns and cities in the investment spotlight. For investors, now is the time to capitalise in an emerging market that is experiencing unprecedented growth, exceptional employment opportunities and wider accessibility across the UK, driving huge tenant demand that offers the potential for excellent returns.
Latest Bracknell Property News
Keep up to date with all the latest property investment news in Oxford
Birmingham Property News
New Developments in Digbeth to Watch in 2019
What Trends Will Shape Wealth Creation in 2019?
Birmingham Property News
Why Invest in Digbeth Buy-to-Let Property in 2019?
Explore World-Class Amenities at The Grand Exchange