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Region set to benefit from London tech exodus, study predicts

PLACE TECH LOGO FOR ARTICLESManchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Leeds will be the digital tech start-up hotspots of the future, rated by a mixture of house price affordability, volume of related jobs and the growth potential of their tech economies, according to research by online estate agent HouseSimple.com.

HouseSimple analysed the 30 regional digital tech hubs, including London, identified in the latest Tech Nation 2017 report, published by government agency Tech City UK.

Manchester came out top in the rankings, with average house prices in the city at £161,611, one of the lowest of the 30 tech hubs, more than 60,000 digital jobs and tech sector growth potential of 85%, one of the highest.

Glasgow was second, with average the house price £119,487, tech growth potential of 81%, but only a third of the digital jobs of Manchester. Leeds placed third, with slightly higher average property prices than Manchester, £171,052, and the second highest tech sector growth potential at 92%.

Liverpool was placed fourth with low house prices, a similar tech job market to Leeds but weaker  growth potential than the Yorkshire rival.

Although London has established itself as one of the world’s top tech capitals, average house prices £481,345 are three times higher than in Manchester and four times higher than in Glasgow. As a result, London only ranks 19th, with the capital vulnerable to a mass exodus of digital talent to the thriving regional tech hubs, where business costs are cheaper and housing is considerably more affordable.

Each city was ranked from 1-30 for average house prices (lowest scored 1), number of digital tech jobs (highest scored 1) and tech sector growth potential (highest scored 1). The top city – Manchester – had the lowest total ranking points.

Office for National Statistics travel to work areas published in 2011 were used to define the geography of the cities, not administrative boundaries.

The following table lists the top 20 regional tech hubs including London in the UK, ranked by a combination of highest number of digital jobs, highest digital tech sector growth potential and most affordable average house prices:

Location No. of Digital Jobs* Digital tech sector growth potential* Average house price** Total ranking points [1]
Manchester 62,653 85% £161,611 22
Glasgow 25,992 81% £119,487 24
Leeds 23,734 92% £171,052 27
Liverpool 23,407 79% £123,117 32
Nottingham 19,741 81% £132,318 33
Edinburgh 25,109 92% £229,357 33
Bristol 35,924 88% £263,759 36
Cambridge 30,219 95% £439,144 36
Sunderland 5,742 81% £108,072 40
Dundee 3,571 86% £117,082 41
Middlesbrough 6,970 79% £110,309 42
Birmingham 36,802 67% £168,651 43
Newcastle 20,290 76% £154,553 45
Bournemouth 15,763 91% £238,377 46
Sheffield 18,961 70% £150,530 48
Reading 45,269 77% £306,750 49
Brighton 12,614 92% £354,430 49
Plymouth 6,404 84% £169,471 49
London 300,169 78% £481,345 50
Hull 6,914 70% £104,155 50

Sources: * Tech City UK/ONS, ** House price data – Land Registry

HouseSimple research revealed that the established tech hubs of Cambridge, Reading and Oxford – with more than 100,000 digital jobs between them – have seen some of the highest property price increases over the past five years of anywhere in the UK. Their booming tech economies have helped super-charge property prices; up more than 43% in Oxford and Cambridge, and almost 54% in Reading since 2012. That compares with a 31% average price increase for the UK over the same period.

The research also found that two of the emerging digital tech hubs Ipswich and Exeter, have seen the largest average property price rises over the past 12 months, of any of the 30 regional tech hubs, up 8.9% in Ipswich and 8.7% in Exeter, almost double the UK average.

Alex Gosling, CEO, online estate agents HouseSimple.com, comments: “Britain was described by Chancellor Philip Hammond as an “innovation powerhouse” and the digital tech sector is predicted to lead the way when we leave the EU.

“The digital economy is expanding rapidly, creating new jobs and opportunities in cities across the UK. London has been the beacon for the digital tech sector in the UK, but the flame is starting to burn a little less brightly, as the high cost of living and unaffordable property prices has seen an exodus of tech workers and tech businesses.

“With tech start-ups able to tap into a growing pool of highly skilled workers outside the capital, the regional tech hubs are thriving. In fact, according to the latest Tech Nation report, more than two thirds (68%) of total UK digital tech investment in 2016 was in regional clusters beyond London.

“Regional tech hubs are set to boom over the next few years, as the local digital economies become more established. And the regions best placed to take advantage of the investment being pumped into the digital tech sector will be the ones that can offer not just the best job opportunities but also the best quality of life.”

Last year, digital tech investment in the UK reached almost £7bn, turnover of the UK digital tech industries was £170bn and there are now more than 1.6m digital tech jobs in the UK. The digital tech sector is booming and leading the way as Brexit is less than two years away.

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Baltic Triangle seems to be booming and with the Ten Streets proposals looking good!

By Man on Bicycle

Can anyone confirm if those figures are for greater Manchester, or just the city of? If it’s just the city, that’s a big difference between all the others. Hats off to those in charge.

By Curious cat

The Baltic is holding its head high. Brill place at the minute. brewery village and the Baltic market really adding to the mix.

By Baltic Curry

Watch Leeds, Could easily make number two spot, especially with the highest student retention rates.

By Gavi's

More need than ever now for a proper train link to Leeds.This government is restricting the North’s growth with all these delays.

By Elephant

Wrong statistics:
Tech city – another one which has been led to believe the Wirral, Bootle, etc, have nothing to do with Liverpool.

If Glasgow is second with only a third of Manchester’s tech jobs, then if Liverpool was counted properly that would have put the city at 2nd.

By Don

The NW is a great place to be, Cities with countryside nearby, Culture, History and all are welcome, just please don’t bring your high property, high social costs with you! Remember this is the home to long term poverty/deprivation but full of spirit and courage and pride… when you set up your new Tech Hubs etc., think what you can do in terms of Community involvement, Jobs and Training, get outside the Town Centre too!

By Cathy Wilson

UPDATE: Clarifies definition of cities used in Tech Nation 2017 report.

By Paul Unger

A TTWA for Liverpool that excludes Birkenhead/Wirral? Where are our LCR leaders to call out this kind of damaging nonsense? There has been a commuter service across the Mersey since 1318!

By LEighteen

So It’s Manchester plus Salford any other areas included?

By causal observer