Halifax has published research revealing that Liverpool winning the title of European capital of culture 2008, has coincided with a strengthening in house prices in the city and also compared to the North-West region as a whole.
In the nine months following the title nomination in June 2003, the average house price in Liverpool has increased by 21.2%, against an average increase in the North West of 12.9%.
The average house price in Liverpool now stands at £125,077, against an average of £133,164 in the North West.
The majority of cities that competed against Liverpool to become the European capital of culture have experienced lower levels of house price growth since the result was announced; Birmingham – 11.8%, Bristol – 1.9%, Cardiff – 12.2% and Oxford – 7.6%. The only exception was Newcastle and Gateshead – 21.7%, which has experienced comparable levels of growth to Liverpool due to its regeneration investment programme.
House prices in Liverpool have seen strong growth as demand has continued to outstrip supply, especially amongst first-time buyers. The demand for good quality, affordable housing has remained high due to Liverpool's close proximity to key towns and cities. The good road and rail links mean that almost any major town in the region is within commutable distance from Liverpool.
As the infrastructure around Liverpool is developed in preparation for 2008, demand for the already popular city centre living is set to increase even further. Work has already started on road and rail improvements, an expansion at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and a new light tram system to run across the city.
By 2008, there will also be a new cruise liner terminal at the Pier Head, a new arena and conference centre and a £750m regeneration programme is focused on the heart of the city centre.
It is expected that by 2008, Liverpool will not only have had an additional £2m pumped into the local economy creating an additional 14,000 new jobs, but it will also become an international visitor destination, attracting an extra 1.7m visitors into the city each year.
Tim Crawford, group economist at Halifax, says: “The capital of culture status is clearly having a halo effect on the regeneration of Liverpool. The local housing market is performing well andremains underpinned by sound fundamental factors. First-time buyer interest remains firm and economic performance has improved, along with the outlook for employment and tourism.”