Home to the eponymous Golden Triangle, North Cheshire is among the most affluent and, some may say, ostentatious, areas of the North West of England.
It’s fair to say that the pretty countryside towns and villages of North Cheshire have risen to fame over the last few years as a result of their popularity with celebrities, notably footballers. However, beyond the customised Range Rovers and paparazzi, beneath the glitz and glamour, remains a uniquely English charm. It is the natural beauty, as much as the coveted postcodes, that make North Cheshire such a desirable place to live.
Of course, the question we are – as always – seeking to answer, is whether North Cheshire is a good place to invest your money.
There’s no denying that Cheshire is a prime location, whichever way you cut it. Even away from the mansions and gated communities, the housing market here remains buoyant. Developers still view it as a hotspot, not simply because of its reputation, but because of its juxtaposition of achingly beautiful English countryside with the vibrant metropolitan buzz of nearby northern powerhouse, Manchester. Manchester itself is rocketing in popularity, with significant investment into the city’s infrastructure (including substantial development work on Manchester Airport). For a more in-depth look at Manchester’s prowess, check out our guide to investing in Manchester city.
Those who come to live here do so because they know that they are getting the best of both worlds. A place that’s perfect for raising a family or escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, in close proximity to the leading business centres of the UK outside of London.
In this article, we will be looking at a few of the most desirable towns and villages that make up the Golden Triangle, with the aim of helping you decide if investing in North Cheshire is right for you. The ‘Triangle’ is generally considered to consist primarily of Prestbury, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, with Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale also getting plenty of golden attention. Let’s begin at the top of the Golden Triangle, with footballers’ favourite, Prestbury.
Arguably less ostentatious than nearby Alderley Edge, Prestbury is, nonetheless, home to an impressive list of famous residents.
Of course, there’s Wayne and Coleen Rooney, who’ve been living in their mansion in Prestbury since 2005. There’s Peter Crouch and his model wife Abbey Clancey, who rent a £3 million home in Prestbury. Along with a string of other footballers, Prestbury is also home Freddy Flintoff, former Slade frontman Noddy Holder and comedian Paddy McGuiness.
Yes, it is one of the most sought-after and expensive places to live outside London. But is there any room for property investors to take a slice of Prestbury pie?
Well, the truth is that there isn’t a great deal on the market in Prestbury. Of the twenty properties sold in March 2016, eleven were detached houses averaging just over £800,000 in value. Just one flat was sold, two semi-detached and six terraced properties.
What does this mean? Well, in short, you’ll have to look very closely to get a look-in at anything worth your investment, in an area where the highest proportion of properties on the market are over £1 million. Nonetheless, if you’re able to snap up something on the lower end of the market, it should certainly make a very quick turnaround. In July 2016, terraced properties spent an average of just 38 days on the market, with three bed properties proving good fodder for a quick sale.
A quaint village characterised by lovely Tudor-beamed cottages and a delightful rose coloured stone church, Alderley Edge is, in essence, the epitome of an English rural village. Don’t be fooled by the rows of designer boutiques, florists and delicatessens. Alderley Edge may be WAG-central, but it’s as charming as they come.
As with anywhere, charming does come with a price tag. Take Whitebarn Road, for example, where the average property price is well over the £2 million mark. This is among the highest value streets in Cheshire, and the rest of Alderley Edge isn’t too far off.
And is there a rental market in Alderley Edge? You might think this super posh town was almost exclusively the domain of the owner-occupier, but there are rental properties around. As such, we’ve done our rental market charts for you:
Altrincham’s town website describes its population as being “made up of an exceptionally high number of professionals, captains of industry and homeowners. The prosperity of the town and its inhabitants are such as to make it almost unparalleled outside the south east of England.” Clearly, Altrincham is pretty proud of itself.
As well as being impossibly posh (we’re going to assume you’re getting the picture by now), Altrincham is also a very well appointed town in terms of transport networks to Manchester city, retail, leisure, schools, and – crucially for us – property.
A 2014 report by Halifax claimed that Altrincham residents pay a whopping £2,227 per square metre for their homes. Things certainly haven’t eased off since then, so you can pretty much expect prices to be as high as elsewhere in the Golden Triangle area. Still, it’s not as expensive as London, where (in 2014) a square metre of property weighed in at over £5,000, and in Kensington and Chelsea, over £10,000. Anyway, here are the charts:
A quick word about transport: Altrincham is prime territory for those successful types commuting into the city. Situated on the A56, there is easy road access to Manchester, as well as national motorway routes. Integrated rail, bus and metrolink interchange are designed seamlessly to run into Manchester and direct to its mainline rail stations, which make journeys to London pleasingly straightforward for professionals taking regular trips to the capital. Just fifteen minutes from the centre of town, Manchester Airport is within very easy reach, too.
And here’s those all-important rental market charts:
Hale – (home to The House Crowd HQ) is situated within the borough of Altrincham, and is bounded by Bowdon, Hale Barns and the River Bollin (which flows through most of these towns). About nine miles south west of the city of Manchester, it’s got great transport links via the M6, M56 and M602, as well as the integral public transport networks. Again, it’s ideal territory for commuters.
Though new developments are thin on the ground, the existing properties in Hale are characteristically beautiful. Ignoring the top heavy market, and focusing more on the affordable, there are terraced houses and semis available for prices that parallel those of the south east of England. You can also pick up a luxury penthouse for under £300,000, and there are a selection of retirement flats around, too.
It’s a town that is as – if not more – out of reach for most buyers. However, as the rental market continues to expand and push owner-occupancy rates down, investors could benefit from the promising rental yields to be expected in such an in-demand location.
Very similar to Hale, Wilmslow and the rest, Bowdon also comprises the small village of Dunham Massey (which is owned by the National Trust), Bowdon Vale and Warburton.
It’s home to a relatively small population of just under 9,000, and is a much quieter, more rural-feeling village than some of the others covered in this article. Most of Bowdon is owned by the National Trust, as part of the Dunham Massey Estate, which comprises the stunning Dunham Massey Hall and deer park, which dates back to 1616.
But what of the property market? Here are the charts:
And again, here come the Bowdon rental market charts:
Just three miles from Manchester Airport, and ten miles south of Manchester centre, Wilmslow is yet another North Cheshire town prime for commuters to the city. Home to roughly 30,000 residents, including the obligatory scattering of celebs, there’s little to suggest Wilmslow is anything less than on a par with its neighbouring affluent towns.
That being said, the property market here feels a lot more fluid. There are significantly more flats, terraced properties and semis on the market (as of July 2016), even if the prices are characteristically steep. Rental yields are, however, promising.
…and, once more, the Wilmslow rental market:
The Golden Triangle and satellite villages of North Cheshire are, as we have seen, prime real estate territory. As one of the most desirable locations in the United Kingdom, the area comes with a correspondingly high price tag.
As such, those seeking an opportunity for buy-to-let investment are likely to benefit from decent rental yields across the North Cheshire area. There is no sign of interest dropping off on the owner-occupier front, either. As more professionals flock to Manchester to take advantage of its ever-growing influence on the economy, there will continue to be demand for properties for the most affluent.
So, should you consider investing in North Cheshire? If you can, then it looks promising. As always, we must tell you that nothing is certain, and we cannot guarantee that your investment will pay off. Nonetheless, for those interested in getting involved in the higher end of the market, or taking advantage of opportunities on mid-range properties in the area, things could be very fruitful.
HC Developments – the development arm of The House Crowd – is currently building 4 luxury apartments in a prime position in Alderley Edge and 3 detached houses in Prestbury. We have recently bought another piece of land for 5 large detached houses and are actively seeking more land buying/ development opportunities.