London to lose crown as UK tech capital, with cheaper regional cities set to step in

It's suggested Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool will be the tech hotspots of the future - thanks to rising house prices in the capital

London could lose its crown as the UK’s tech capital, as rising house prices push wannabe entrepreneurs to more regional cities and hubs – according to a report by HouseSimple.com.

Analysing the Tech Nation 2017 report, which is described as the “most comprehensive analysis of the UK digital tech ecosystem”, Housesimple ranked the top 30 cities by average house price, number of digital jobs and digital tech sector growth potential – in a bid to predict the UK tech landscape of the future.

With an average house price of just £161,611, more than 60,000 digital jobs, and tech sector growth potential of 85% – Manchester topped the list, and its suggested it could become the heir of London as the UK’s number one digital hotspot.

Glasgow came a close second, with the average house price in the Scottish city just £119,487, while the tech sector has growth potential of 81%. However, the city currently has just a third of the digital jobs Manchester has – suggesting recruitment could be a potential problem for local entrepreneurs.

Leeds came third with slightly higher average property prices than Manchester (£171,052), but the second highest tech sector growth potential (92%) of any of the regional tech hubs.

In stark contrast, the nation’s capital, which has long-held a reputation as being one of the world’s leading tech cities, is potentially leaving itself exposed to a “mass exodus of  its digital talent” thanks to rising living costs.

With an average house price of £481,345, London-based business owners can expect to pay three times more for accomidation than their counterparts in Manchester, and four times that of those in Glasgow.

Last year, digital tech investment in the UK reached almost £7m, turnover of the UK digital tech industries was £170m and there are now more than 1.6 million digital tech jobs in the UK.

Elsewhere, house prices have rocketed since 2012 in Cambridge, Reading and Oxford as they continue to gain a reputation as emerging tech hubs, while Exeter and Ipswich have seen the highest property price growth over the past twelve months.

The most affordable tech hubs in the UK 

Location No. of Digital Jobs Digital tech sector growth potential Average house price Total ranking points
Manchester 62,653 85% £161,611 22
Glasgow 25,992 81% £119,487 24
Leeds 23,734 92% £171,052 27
Liverpool 23,407 79% £123,117 32
Nottingham 19,741 81% £132,318 33
Edinburgh 25,109 92% £229,357 33
Bristol 35,924 88% £263,759 36
Cambridge 30,219 95% £439,144 36
Sunderland 5,742 81% £108,072 40
Dundee 3,571 86% £117,082 41

 

Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com, said:

“Britain was described by chancellor Philip Hammond as an “innovation powerhouse” and the digital tech sector is predicted to lead the way when we leave the EU.

“The digital economy is expanding rapidly, creating new jobs and opportunities in cities across the UK. 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 start-ups able to tap into a growing pool of highly skilled workers outside the capital, the regional tech hubs are thriving. In fact, according to the latest Tech Nation report, more than two thirds (68%) of total UK digital tech investment in 2016 was in regional clusters beyond London.

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

Thinking of starting a business in one of the UK’s regional cities? Read our Startups cities index and learn about the top 25 cities to start a business in.

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