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Derby: and why it is a good place to buy student investments

by Nikki Dale -

When asked list top UK cities for property investment?  Would the East Midlands City of Derby be on your list?

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t instantly lean towards Derby as a great place to buy property and purpose-built student accommodation.

Derby is one of the UK’s smaller cities, with a current population of circa 259,000 – half the size of Liverpool and Manchester and quarter the population of Birmingham – but the somewhat underemphasised City of Derby is one of the leading and most pioneering manufacturing centres in the UK and has one of the fastest growing economies in recent years.

  • Derby is the UK’s most central city
  • Official forecast supports, Derby’s population, of circa 259,000, will rise to 312,000 by 2037
  • It’s the heart of the UK’s transport network, with a travel population of £2.1 million people
  • The East Midlands HS2 Hub at Toton between Derby and Nottingham will be one of the most connected places in the UK

It’s steeped in British history and considered one of the original hometowns of the industrial revolution, with some of the country’s first factories and spinning mills.

Being the most central city in the UK, it boasts fantastic transport links by train, road and air, a 2030 multi-million pound city centre regeneration scheme, a student population of 30,000+ and surprisingly, is one of the cheapest cities to buy property in – Derby ticks all the boxes as a property investment hotspot.


“House price average in the City of Derby is £159,403 which falls well below the national average. of £247,000.”  


Economy and Employment

  • Derby has one of the fastest growing economies in the UK
  • It’s one of the UK’s leading manufacturing bases for the aerospace, rail and automotive sectors
  • It boasts a healthy economy, providing lots of skilled jobs
  • Derby has 38.5% of its workforce employed in professional functions
  • 12% of the workforce is employed in hi-tech functions, which is four times more than the national average.

Derby is home to a third of the East Midlands engineering manufacturing workforce.  Over 45,000 people are employed in the sector, and it particularly helps support the economy.

Aero-engine manufactures Rolls Royce has been long established in Derby for over 100-years. Rolls Royce is still the largest private sector employer in Derby. Understandably, the aviation industry has hit quite a slump due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Rolls Royce is not exempt, it has been faced with challenges that it has not seen in over 50 years, and there will be some redundancies expected in 2020 – around 10% of its circa 12,500 workforce.

Other major employers include: train manufacturer Bombardier Transportation, car manufacturer Toyota Motor UK, University Hospitals of Derby, Burton NHS Foundation Trust, Derby City Council and the University of Derby.  Also, Derby is home to the HQ of the world-renowned tableware manufacturer Royal Crown Derby.


“The City of Derby exports more goods and services per job than any other in Britain”


Derby’s skilled dynamic workforce

There are staggering 17 universities in a one-hour radius to Derby, this supplies a student talent pool of 400,000 people.

Business and educators work together in city, and wider region, to have what is known as a skills pipeline.  They work in partnership to gain the best recruits, equipped with specific skills companies and employers are looking for.

The Derby City Centre Master Plan 2030

Derby City Council aim to deliver economy-changing improvements to the city centre with its 2030 City Centre Master Plan, which will create new jobs and new homes.

Derby has seen millions of pounds of regeneration investment over the last decade and the City Centre Master Plan 2030 demonstrates the council’s commitment and continues the successes the city has seen with its improvements so far.

The City Centre Masterplan sets out a strategic framework for investment opportunities in the city in the next 10 -15 years.  By 2030, this masterplan aims to leverage £3.5 billion in investment, create 4,000 new jobs and deliver 1,900 new homes. Also, in the plan is a £20m hi-tech business park that includes an Innovation Centre run by the universities. This will strengthen and support Derby as a centre for aerospace, rail and automotive companies.

The Becketwell Regeneration Scheme

One in particular for buy to let property investors is The Becketwell Regeneration Scheme, Becketwell is a mixed-use development that aims to bring new homes, offices, retail and leisure space, as well as a new public square to a run down area of the city.

Plans also include the renovation of the Guildhall Market and transforming the Silk Mill into an inspirational “Museum of Making”.

Property Investment in Derby

  • Derby is one of the cheapest UK cities for property investment
  • House price avg. in the City of Derby is £159,403 which falls well below the national avg. of £247,000
  • Derby offers around a 4.8% – 5% annual yields to landlords with PBSA higher at around 8% p.a. NET

With many Derby companies and employers seeking highly skilled talent and the University of Derby ranked in the top 30, demand for rental property comes naturally from the local resident demand, but a high demand comes from those relocating to work in Derby and students enrolling in 3-5 year full-time courses at the University of Derby.

Education in Derby

  • Derby is home to 34,000 university students
  • The University of Derby was ranked 29th in The Guardian University Guide 2019

Currently the University of Derby is home to around 34,000 students in all areas of study.  Its main campus is in the city, with additionally campuses in Buxton and Chesterfield.  It provides over 300 study programmes at undergraduate level. Undergraduate programmes as well as short courses, foundation degrees and postgraduate degrees cover most academic disciplines and sub-disciplines.

The Guardian University Guide 2019 ranked The University of Derby in the Top 30 which saw a climb of 25 places.  Derby is now ranked 29th after jumping from 54th place out of 121 institutions making it the sixth most improved university in the country. Notably, it is the highest ever ranking its had.

The recognition was well received in 2018, as the focus for this accreditation is on: student experience, student satisfaction and employability.

A top 30 UK ranking will surely attract students to Derby year-on-year, and while no-one can predict the future, investors do have a great opportunity while house prices are still sitting well below the national average.

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