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Liverpool: Property Market, Regeneration & Development

Mark Hempshell reports

Go back a few decades and Liverpool was something of a shining example of regeneration and development, as projects around the waterfront gave the city an impressive new look. In recent years, however, the city seems to have lagged behind other regional cities such as Manchester. Now that things look like they could be getting back on track we will look at what is going on here and what is planned.

First, some relevant background. The city of Liverpool itself has a population of around 500,000. Together with the separate metropolitan boroughs of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral, it forms part of the Liverpool City Region with a wider population of 1.4m. Both Liverpool City Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) have some responsibilities in the areas of regeneration, development and planning.

Liverpool’s economy still has an industrial base, although with a trend as elsewhere towards services in recent years. Key industries include chemicals, food processing, motor manufacturing, business and financial services and retail, while newer industries include advanced manufacturing and life sciences. The Port of Liverpool is the fifth largest in the UK and handles almost half of all UK-US trade.

Underpinned by its globally renowned music and football, the city has a significant visitor economy with around 42m visits annually. It is also a cruise ship destination with 115 ship visits last year. Time Out have recently named Liverpool as seventh in its annual list of the best cities in the world.

Liverpool is also a major student city and the universities are now important to both the city economy and the property market. There are 54,500 students in Liverpool studying at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Liverpool Hope University with the main campuses on the edge of the city centre.

Liverpool was home to one of the UK’s first major urban regeneration projects when the post-industrial area around the Pier Head and Albert Dock was extensively regenerated from the 1980s onwards. Very recently, new regeneration initiatives include the Liverpool City Region Freeport, which was announced by the Government in 2021. It is due to receive £25m of government seed funding and it is claimed it will provide an £850m economic benefit to the region. The Freeport locations are not within the city itself, however, but in St. Helens, Widnes and Wirral across the River Mersey. 

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