Thursday, 19 November 2015

Exciting Times Ahead For The Sunderland Property Market?

Last week I attended the first Sunderland Professionals Network meeting and was lucky enough to hear a presentation given by Andrea Winders of Sunderland City Council about the exciting developments she is currently working on in Sunderland, many of which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the housing market in the City

Andrea (who's official title is Executive Director of Enterprise Development) was like a breath of fresh air, with the passion, enthusiasm and drive you'd expect from someone with a history of success in the private sector prior to taking her first public sector role with Sunderland City Council last year

Sunderland is often seen by property investors as attractive due to the ability to achieve good Yields and positive cashflow but the lack of potential for capital growth due to the lack of house price increases in recent years is an obvious downside

Similarly Sunderland is perceived to have a problem with talent leaving the City rather than staying or actively choosing to move here and this impacts on both housing sales and rentals

It must be said that we see this on the ground with the flats and apartments in the City Centre or nearby likely to appeal to a younger professional tenant (rather than students) having a shortage of tenants but at the same time there is insufficient supply of family homes in the more outlying areas to meet the tenant demand

I'd hope that some of the projects Andrea is working on may address those issues, making Sunderland even more attractive for Homeowners, Landlords, Investors and Tenants alike

When you think of International employers you think of Nissan but Andrea was able to highlight that in addition to the car giant (which produces more cars in Sunderland than all the Italian manufacturers combined!), Sunderland is home to over 80 foreign owned companies employing over 25,000 people and is infact in the top four small European Cities for Foreign Direct Investment strategy

One of the most exciting developments off the back of this is the International Advanced Manufacturing Park to be located near the current Nissan site which is predicted to deliver 5,200 new jobs and £300m of private sector investment by 2027

IAMP site overview

Separate to this is the regeneration of the Port of Sunderland which I didn't realise had recently had it's rail link re-established to increase it's cargo handling capacity and increase it's ability to win and retain new business

It's not often highlighted but Sunderland is actually the UK's only net exporting region (clearly this is on the back of Nissan's 1000's of cars rolling off the lines) so any attempts to build on this or allow Sunderland's own infrastructure to be used to transport the goods made here (rather than transporting the vehicles by road to ports elsewhere) can only help the City

The Port will be the focus when the City plays host to the Tall Ships Race in 2018 and it is anticipated that significant development will take place to regenerate that part of the City to present the most attractive experience to Tall Ships visitors but also to leave a lasting legacy in what is currently not one of the most attractive parts of the City!

Sunderland is one of only three 'Digital Catapult Centres' nationally, which sounds painful but is actually the reason behind the new Software Centre at Tavistock Place - a £10m small business space designed to attract and encourage hi-tech digital start ups to the City

Also in the City Centre, the long overdue redevelopment of the Vaux site looks to be within touching distance of getting underway (with Phase 1 looking as if it may get the green light very soon) and is part of £700m of planned investment in the City Centre over the next 10 years 

This is designed to attract businesses, create jobs and give a much needed boost to the City Centre economy

Given I was among the hundreds of Vaux workers made redundant when the brewery closed in July 1999 this is something very close to my heart so I will continue to watch this with interest...

I'm usually pretty cynical but must admit to being very encouraged by what Andrea Winders had to say and her passion for seeing it through - having spoken to a number of attendees after the meeting we all shared similar positive feelings about how this could have a significant benefits to the City

A thriving City and regional economy are vital to a bouyant and robust housing market so I'm excited to think that these developments may start to give the Sunderland housing market a much needed boost

Separate to this, if you get a chance you should support the Sunderland Professionals Network, it's being organised by Rowlands Accountants and there seems to be a real desire to build a spirit of co-operation and collaboration within the Sunderland business community that can only help both the individual businesses and the City as a whole

If you'd like to chat about how these developments may affect the Sunderland property market in the future or chat about any aspect of in Sunderland give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email


  1. Hi Neil,

    Do you have details or a link to this network as I would be keen to join and attend local meetings?

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Janet, hope you're well

      It's organised by John White of Rowlands Accountants, I'd suggest you drop him an email so you're included on upcoming invitations, his address is (and mention you heard about it via the blog!)