A holistic assessment of economic and social factors makes Hampshire’s largest city the ideal place for young street people and entrepreneurs. Investors take note.
The wealth of the world flows to London. But some of the smarter money will go to Southampton.
That’s because the port city on the south coast of England, just 75 miles southwest of the capital, has a rich history of the maritime economy, respected local universities, more affordable housing, and, in general, what if a higher quality of life. A 2014 study of “good growth factors” by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Demos, a think tank between the parties, examined several factors that ensure optimal local economic performance. It goes beyond the simple measure of gross value added (GVA) and looks more holistically at things like jobs, income, skills, health, housing (accessibility), and work-life balance.
Given that trade with tourists continues uninterrupted, merchant ships docking by the hour and in ports for almost an hour, and local universities are encouraging companies to expand, it is no wonder that land is being bought and developed. What may be surprising is why some properties have been undervalued so far.
Southampton scored well above average in the PwC-Demos study between the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish cities, just above Oxford and Cambridge and just behind Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Reading & Bracknell. London and its neighborhoods ranked lower in terms of the high costs and inconveniences of housing and transport.
Cost of living in Southampton
In terms of the cost of living, Southampton offers some interesting figures. Mortgages as a percentage of average income around 43.8 percent. In Oxford, it is 62.15 percent, in Edinburgh 42.04 percent, and in London 127.27 percent.
In general, cities that meet environmental needs typically spend resources on other quality of life issues, such as parks, forests, waterways, and clean air. So environmentalists can take credit for doing this in Southampton. According to Southampton Low Carbon Group, a coalition formed with the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, the University of Southampton, Cofely, and others, carbon dioxide levels created by the city and its residents will fall by 34% over the next ten years. District Energy and Business Southampton. But just as important and tangible in real-time, the Group aims to strengthen the diversity of flora and fauna in the city itself by building a green and blue infrastructure (forested areas and waterways) that also happens to encourage a style of a healthier life.
And, as reported in publications such as The Economist, immigrants from Eastern Europe (especially Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria) soaked Southampton with young people with 21st-century aspirations and skills. They prefer private rental housing to council housing, have a lower percentage of use of the National Health Service, and enroll in vocational training and universities (Solent and Southampton universities, among others).
High immigration rates are, of course, not without some controversy. But as second-generation immigrant families seek jobs that require skills and education, they become a much larger presence in the local economy. They also buy land and commercial real estate, set up businesses, and enter professions and management positions.
Investors looking for Southampton have a lot to discover that are worth investigating. But, as with all opportunities, they are advised to talk to an independent financial advisor before committing to positions and funds.