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Graduate Retention Boosts North West Property Market

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    High-Earning Young Professionals Drawn to Big Northern Cities

    Research suggests that graduates and qualified young people are drawn to major cities, including Liverpool and Manchester.

    According to the ONS, the more educated people are, the more likely they are to move away from their hometown for better job opportunities. A city attracting graduates or highly qualified people is a good sign; if an area cannot retain skilled people, it suggests a lack of good jobs and a weaker local economy.

    Research from the ONS details which English towns and cities attract and retain graduates and qualified people,  based on data from state-school pupils in England who sat their GCSEs between 2007 to 2008 and 2010 to 2011 school years.

    The researchers looked at pupils who completed a degree and those who went into other post-16 education. They then looked at the years 2018-2019 and compared which of these qualified young people lived in the same town or city that they were living in when they sat their GCSEs. They also found out the share of each city’s graduates that went to school in the area or moved from elsewhere after graduating.

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      The research shows that major North West cities are popular places for graduates and qualified young people to reside.

      Major cities such as Manchester and towns close to these urban centres, as well as some prosperous university towns such as York, are registered as the places with the highest proportions of graduates from the overall cohort in 2018-2019.

      Manchester ended up with more graduates than it produced and more non-graduates with advanced qualifications. It was one of the cities that attracted the most graduates (as a share of their local GCSE cohort population), and it even had a more impressive inward migration rate than inner London (which had a 33% rate). The number of graduates who moved to Manchester from elsewhere equalled 36% of the town’s GCSE cohort.

      Looking at the data, Liverpool had more graduates than it produced and a similar number of non-graduates with advanced qualifications as it produced. Of graduates in Liverpool, 34% moved there from elsewhere, and 66% stayed after achieving their qualifications. Not only does Liverpool attract young, qualified residents from outside the area, but 47% of graduates from Liverpool stayed throughout university and then moved into the local labour market after graduating.

      The ONS report states that the North West graduate cohort is the least likely of all non-London regions to have moved from the town or city where they took their GCSE exams (33%). Furthermore, of those with a graduate-level degree, graduates from the North West are the least likely to move out of their home region (48%) or even the local commuting area (68%).

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      What Does This Mean for the Local Property Markets?

      The fact that graduates are likely to stay in Liverpool and Manchester after graduating implies that they are attractive places to live, with solid job opportunities and a sturdy local economy. It seems that not only are these North West cities luring outside graduates, but qualified people from the area are also keen on staying nearby, showing that these cities are desirable residential locations for young professionals. We have a dedicated area discussing the types of property investments with high returns.

      If a large number of high-earning young professionals reside in a particular city, it typically boosts demand for chic apartments in the residential market and attractive office space. It will also contribute to rental inflation in an area, as affluent young people are willing to pay more for high-spec and luxury living spaces near the city centre. This demand has led to more Liverpool new-build developments aimed at young professional renters.

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      Jessica Ferris

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      Jessica is a property content writer at RWinvest. Keeping a close eye on the UK property market, Jessica helps our readers stay informed and up to date on the latest market news and statistics.