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Bristol & Bath: Investment Market Report

While the economy in London and the south east seems to have left recession long behind and has been forging ahead for several years now, a number of regional locations now appear to be gaining economic momentum and growing again. One of these locations, which seems to be 'buzzing' once again, is Bristol. So in this report we will examine the current market and prospects for the future in Bristol and the nearby smaller but increasingly interlinked city of Bath.

Background and economy
With a population around 422,500 Bristol is the UK's eighth largest city. Bath itself has a population around 83,000. The wider city region, which extends into North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, has a population of approximately 1m. Local authority figures project Bristol's population alone will exceed 500,000 by 2029.

Bristol, regarded as the 'gateway to the south west', is the largest economy in the region by far. A late 2014 report from Grant Thornton rated Bristol as fourth in its 'high growth' index, based on demographic and economic factors, behind only Manchester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes. Latest figures from the ONS report that the south west generally has the highest employment rate in the country at 78.4%.

Traditionally a major world port and trading centre, Bristol's largest industries in terms of employment are now financial services, logistics, IT and the media. The public sector is also a significant employer. Bath's traditional industries were in light manufacturing but are now mainly services, with education and health, retail, business services and creative industries. Tourism is also significant and Bath is estimated to attract 3.8m day and 1m overnight visits annually.

A recent survey by Tech City UK ranked Bath and Bristol together as the second largest 'digital cluster' in the UK (after London) with digital industries here now employing over 61,000 people.

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