Opinion: Bristol is a honeypot for property investors
Original article written by Stephen Fear for the Bristol Post on 3rd November 2015 (also featured on SouthWestBusiness.co.uk on 4th November 2015):
Property has always attracted entrepreneurs. However they earn their daily bread, they almost always invest something in the property market eventually even if they never become full time property developers.
Whether they are car dealers, restaurant owners, solicitors, or sales reps by day, as soon as they make some extra money they start visiting estate agents to see what they can buy cheap to improve and sell on or use as a buy to let.
Bristol has always had its property developers, many of whom focused on converting the large Victorian and Regency houses in Clifton, Cotham and Redland into flats.
Splinters cafe in Clifton used to be a regular meeting place for some of these ‘faces’, many who have since passed on, and like that well-known cafe itself, become part of Bristol folklore.
I remember one well known property converter turning up at an Osmond Tricks auction in a top hat and tails and successfully bidding for two large houses on Royal York Crescent, Clifton, before going onto a black tie dinner happy with his purchase.
Auctions in the city are buzzing at the moment with packed auction houses almost everywhere you look.
It’s not surprising really as Bristol has emerged from the Great Recession in a powerful position.
We now have the office of elected mayor, which whether you support George Ferguson as the current mayor or not, is a major cause of the city’s growing national and international fame.
Now cited as the tenth most expensive city in the world for students to live in, it remains a honeypot as far as investors are concerned.
The vibrant cafes, restaurants, and wonderful individual shopping areas, make Bristol a brilliant city in which to live and work.
Take the entrepreneurs who run the quirky shops on Gloucester Road as an example.
Napoleon once said that “Britain is a nation of shopkeepers”! You must have been walking down the Gloucester Road when you uttered that sentence, Mr Bonapart.
St Nic’s Market in the city centre is another fantastic example of independent shopkeepers plying their trade to thousands of satisfied customers.
A walk around this vibrant quarter of the city delivers the feeling of a genuine “London-like” Petticoat Lane. Cafes are filled with chatter as people from all walks of life mingle together.
The national chains are represented at Cabot Circus and Cribbs, both of which rival any national, or even international, competitors.
Shopping in Bristol and its immediate surrounding area has become as good as anywhere in the UK and when coupled with the many other wonderful attractions such as, The SS Great Britain, M Shed, it’s highly acclaimed Harbourside, and the At Bristol Centre, has created a city of European stature whose future looks very bright indeed.
Brunel would be proud of the entrepreneurs who are ever driving this international city forward to greater prosperity.
The ghost of Napoleon Bonaparte might be surprised by the number of new shops since his day too!