Procurement · 16 August 2017

Ten regional tech hubs offering founders an escape from London house prices

Leeds registered a high tech growth potential than any other UK city
Leeds registered a higher tech growth potential than any other UK city

Rising house prices in London are causing a “mass exodus” of digital entrepreneurs from the capital, according to a new report, as other regional tech hubs tempt startups as cost-effective alternatives.

In an analysis of Tech City’s “Tech Nation 2017” report, a comprehensive study of Britain’s digital ecosystems, online estate agent Housesimple looked at average house prices, sector growth potential and the number of tech jobs in each region to rank ten cities with the foundations to protect the UK’s digital economy.

The final league table placed Manchester in top position. A growth potential of 85 per cent, backed by 60,000 digital jobs and low average house prices of £161,611, made the city most likely to challenge London as the natural home for tech startups.

Even lower average house prices of £119,487 put Glasgow in second place. Despite strong growth potential, at 25,992 there were significantly fewer jobs in the sector.

Representing Yorkshire, Leeds fell in third place. Leeds had higher average house prices than the top two positions, but the growth potential of its tech sector was marked at 92 per cent – the highest in the country.

As cities in the North of England and Scotland represent both value and potential for tech entrepreneurs, rising house prices across the South of England could be leaving founders with no choice but to look elsewhere.

Commenting on the findings, Alex Gosling, Housesimple CEO, said Britain’s digital economy was “rapidly expanding” across the UK, and highlighted an incoming shift.

“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 startups able to tap into a growing pool of highly skilled workers outside the capital, the regional tech hubs are thriving. In fact, more than two-thirds of total UK digital tech investment in 2016 was in regional clusters beyond London,” Gosling said.

The most affordable regional tech hubs

Location Number of digital Jobs Digital tech sector growth potential Average house price
Manchester 62,653 85 per cent £161,611
Glasgow 25,992 81 per cent £119,487
Leeds 23,734 92 per cent £171,052
Liverpool 23,407 79 per cent £123,117
Nottingham 19,741 81 per cent £132,318
Edinburgh 25,109 92 per cent £229,357
Bristol 35,924 88 per cent £263,759
Cambridge 30,219 95 per cent £439,144
Sunderland 5,742 81 per cent £108,072
Dundee 3,571 86 per cent £117,082

Gosling added: “Regional tech hubs are set to boom over the next few years, as the local digital economies become more established. 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.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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