Proximity to the city centre and good design have helped turn rundown areas of Sheffield into property hotspots.
It’s clear that design has played an enormous part in regenerating parts of Sheffield that were once regarded as no-go areas.
Park Hill is the biggest example of this phenomenon. The 1960s tower blocks had become associated with drug problems and crime. Now, the former council flats are being steadily transformed into fashionable apartments and commercial space by developers Urban Splash, who pioneered the idea of taking enormous old buildings in “edgy” areas and turning them into exciting new homes with cutting edge interiors.
Interesting architecture and design has also elevated Kelham Island, which is a short distance from Sheffield’s core. The renaissance of the former industrial area turned semi-derelict no-go area was sparked by Leeds developer Citu. It is building homes on brownfield land, while converting old factories into creative work spaces and shops. Little Kelham will consist of 250 properties that blend contemporary design and energy efficiency. So far, 40 homes have been built with prices that compare with affluent Sheffield suburbs. A two-bedroom house at Little Kelham costs £220,000.
While both Park Hill and Kelham Island are Cinderella stories, Sheffield’s latest hotspot has not had a fairy godmother-style makeover. Sheffield Parklands may never be the belle of the ball but its main attractions are its low property prices and easy access to the city centre. Investors have spotted these charms and are targeting the area, which is beginning to lose its “bad rep.”, according to Martin and Co. estate agency. They say that Parklands rental property in the area are now outperforming city centre lets by 300 per cent.
“The data shows a typical city centre apartment is now worth eight per cent less than what it was five years ago, compared to a property in Sheffield Parklands, which is now worth at least 26 per cent more,” says Harriet Cooke, manager of the Sheffield centre branch of Martin and Co. “Over that five-year period, a city centre apartment would have brought in £42,000 in rent, but the property would have lost eight per cent in value, which could be something like £10,000, while net return is equivalent to five per cent return on the investment per annum.
“Over the same period, Parklands property would have brought in £27,000 in rent, with an increase of 26 per cent in the property value, the equivalent of a 15 per cent return on your investment per annum. Therefore, it is clearly outperforming the city centre by 300 per cent as an investment.”
Parklands is in the City Road region with an S2 postcode, encompassing areas such as Norfolk Park and Arbourthorne. There have been several housing developments there within the last ten years, along with a growth in longer-term tenancies and student renters. Prices start from about £90,000 for a two to three-bedroom house.
“You can only get a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre for that price and there is a lot of tenant demand in Parklands because it’s just ten minutes by tram from the city centre,” says Harriet, who adds that 80 per cent of the buyers in S2 are now investors and the vast majority of them are from the south of England or abroad. “We’ve had quite a lot from Asia and China. They will either get us to do a Skype viewing or they will send an agent,” she says. “Sheffield is fast becoming an investors’ dream.”