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Cardiff: Property Market, Regeneration & Development

Mark Hempshell reports

While much of South Wales has struggled to transition from its heavy industrial past the capital city of Cardiff stands as an outlier, having enjoyed much success in regenerating its economy. In this report we will look at what is going on in Cardiff at the moment and what is planned for the future.

Cardiff (Caerdydd) was formerly an industrial city and one of the world’s largest coal exporting ports. The economy here declined over the 20th century but in recent times has been one of the UK’s fastest growing.

The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) accounts for approximately 50% of the total economic output of Wales and 49% of total employment (HM Government figures). Cardiff itself has a population of around 357,000 although the surrounding area including the South Wales Valleys takes the regional population to 1.1m.

Growth sectors here include science and technology and also information and communication. A recent report from Avison Young says that Cardiff’s information and communication sector has seen 126% employment growth in 10 years – the fastest growing sector of any UK city in the last decade. The once-industrial city also now has a sizable leisure and visitor economy. It has an estimated 18m visits per year to attractions such as Cardiff Castle, events at the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium, and the many arts, cultural and leisure amenities which the city offers.

The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal was ratified between ten regional local authorities in south east Wales, including Cardiff, and the government in 2017. It promised to provide £1.3bn investment plus £4bn additional private sector investment and attract 25,000 jobs over 20 years. The city deal is helping to promote several sectors where the region is thought to have comparative strengths and competitive advantages. These include compound semiconductors, fintech, cybersecurity and analytics, the creative economy, medtech, transport, energy and the environment.

The Avison Young report says that Cardiff is the fastest growing core city in the UK and that its population will increase by 20% over the next 20 years and its economy will grow by 7.2% by 2028. Job growth is forecast at 3.7% (compared to 2.4% for Wales and 3.1% for the UK as a whole) driven primarily by growth in the professional, scientific and technical services, information and communication sectors. 

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