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UK high-streets may never be the same following the pandemic – however, with 46% of people still believing a vibrant local high street is important when choosing where to live and 27% willing to pay a premium to be near a good local high street – investors should take note.

New survey data  reveals that despite the impact of the pandemic, social distancing regulations, changing shopping habits, and cost of living, local high streets continue to play a significant role in where people are deciding to live.

As Finbri bridging loans comments, “The pandemic has greatly affected local high streets with many businesses struggling to stay open. However, with people looking to support their local  businesses and community now restrictions have lifted – a vibrant local high street  has become an increasingly important factor in determining where they want to live.

High streets are still important to buyers and Investors can take advantage of the growing opportunity to buy rental property and regenerate run down premises.”

How important are local high streets when deciding where to live?

Around 46% of the respondents said that having a bustling local high street was important when deciding where to live. Despite the difficulties facing local high streets since 2020, around three in ten UK adults (31%) would be more likely to ‘shop local’ compared to the pre-pandemic level.

There are a number of factors that should be considered when deciding to move near a high street including:

Price point. The location and price point often come hand in hand, prime locations near transport links and shopping facilities often have a higher premium compared to other locations.

Employment opportunities.  A high street that is vibrant with businesses and people working will attract renters and buyers who are looking for good employment opportunities.

Essential high street facilities and venues.  What do people look for in a high street? A post office (91% of UK adults surveyed), supermarkets (89%), GP/dentist (87%), convenience stores (78%), hairdressers (73%), restaurants (70%), cafes or coffee shops (68%) and pubs (61%), were all considered essentials for a good high street. Having a combination of the most sought-after amenities will improve the premium on the property – investors should be aware of this and choose the location with demand in mind.

A thriving local high street can provide a sense of community that can be less common in other places. Indeed, analysis has shown that flats above retail premises can return 17% more rental yield than similar rental properties in the same area.

Why is this important to investors?

Location has become more important than ever as the value of the high street increases, and with many people now working from home, they are looking for better quality housing that meets their needs – often this includes being close to good local amenities.

Which locations are worth investing in?

There are already some clear bustling high-streets emerging from the pandemic. UK cities with thriving local high streets, with some of the most popular locations for investors include Birmingham, Coventry and Nottingham. These cities have a combination of good transport links, plenty of employment opportunities, and a selection of shops and restaurants.

London has always been a popular choice for investors, however, in recent years there has been a shift to the North with many people now looking for better value for money. Cities such as Liverpool and Newcastle have seen a significant increase in investment over the past few years, and this is expected to continue as more people look to move away from the capital.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that every city with a high street will be an appropriate opportunity. It’s important to do your research and understand the local market before making any investment decisions. But if you’re looking for somewhere with potential, cities with strong high streets are a good place to start.

Final thoughts

The local high street is still an important factor for many people when deciding where to live. For investors, this means that there is still potential to achieve good rental yields and capital growth in areas with thriving high streets.

Furthermore, according to the data around 19% of respondents indicated the decline of their local high street had motivated them to sell their home or begin looking for a new one. But more importantly, 27% of people would pay a premium to live in a location with a great high street nearby. By identifying locations that have a thriving high street, there will be opportunities for investors. But as with all investment purchases, there is likely competition attempting to pounce on the same opportunities so having access to fast finance to avoid missing out is vital.

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