Select Property Group’s new research looks at areas with high projected Gross Value Added (GVA) and their investment potential according to data such as rental dwellings growth, employment rates, number of start-ups and property value. Select also analysed search volume data around each of the locations on the list to gauge demand.
The company compiled the data included in its report from various sources, including; Zoopla, Home.co.uk, Centre For Cities, VInsights, Semrush, ONS and the Irwin Mitchell UK Powerhouse report.
Where topped the list?
Southampton is ranked first place in the list of 20 locations, which also includes cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. Smaller cities also feature in the list with Bradford and Exeter making an appearance.
Adam Price, chief executive officer of Select Property Group, comments: “The UK’s major cities have long presented some of the strongest opportunities for property investors, and our findings suggest that this remains true today, as our metropolises provide promising GVA, significant population growth and excellent business prospects.”
Price continues: “As the UK economy bounces back after the pandemic, investing in areas that have scope to grow in terms of population, employment and GVA will be key for securing the best ROI. Cities with excellent commuter links outside of London, or those with growing digital industries like Manchester will always be attractive to renters, meaning property investors can still find excellent value and opportunities in the right areas.”
At the top of the table sits Southampton, with the Hampshire city being the number one property investment hotspot. Southampton ranked first in Select’s ranking for GVA, second place for business start-ups and took third place for both employment growth and the number of businesses per capita. Southampton was also third in Select’s 2025 forecast for the percentage of private rental dwellings, signifying the huge potential for investors in the coming years.
Southampton also possesses a huge international student population and strong demand for luxury university accommodation. One in five Southampton residents are students, and the success of rental properties like Vita Student Richmond House and Vita Student Portswood shows the high potential ROI for rental properties in the city. Select’s projections show that private rental dwellings will take up over 27% of property in the city by 2025.
A long-time favourite for property investors and a close second in the ranking, Manchester always presents opportunities for profitable investment. The Northern city benefits from a desirable location for commuters in the North West.
The city also has a growing reputation as an economic powerhouse of the north, and a top-two ranking for business stock. What's more, it is home to 80 FTSE 100 companies.
Manchester’s rise presents a lucrative opportunity for residential investors; the city took the top spot in the 2025 rental dwellings projection, rising from third place as of 2019. Manchester is set to outpace both Outer London (#1 in 2019) and Birmingham (2) over the next four years, showing its strong prospects for investors.
Manchester’s rental yield has grown by 10% in a year, demonstrating the strength of the Manchester market.
London and its surrounding areas benefit from huge population growth and boast consistently high property values and excellent business prospects. Outer London comes in third place overall in the table but ranks in the top spot for Select’s ranking for both business start-ups and business stock.
Rightmove recently revealed 53% of renters in Inner London had enquired about moving out of the central area, perhaps signifying an increase of interest for properties just outside the capital’s central zones and further afield.
Birmingham is ranked in fourth place and remains a strong prospect for investors. The Midlands city has continually shown strong projected population growth, making it a reliable investment site, especially when coupled with a strong level of start-up businesses and an upturning property market, which saw the city ranked fourth in Select’s study for apartment value growth over the past year.
Birmingham has the largest city Gross Domestic Product outside London and strong demand for property – it’s estimated that the city requires 89,000 new homes to meet the demand for the period 2011-2031, and local lettings firm Barrow & Forrester reported a 25.2% uplift in rental demand for the city.
In fifth place, Portsmouth performs well across each of the ranking categories and lands in the top five for projected rental dwellings. Portsmouth is also in the top 10 for business stock and business start-ups, indicating a strong economic and employment potential over the coming years.
Portsmouth is a major London commuter belt city and is appealing to investors and renters because of its ease of transport to London and its idyllic coastal lifestyle.
An international epicentre for aerospace, defence, maritime and engineering industries, Portsmouth’s strong rental culture and attractive rental yield prospects makes it an ideal choice for investment in South England.
You can view the full research, complete with tables and an infographic, here.