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Investment Market Report: The South Coast

Mark Hempshell reports

Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth have a common maritime connection, yet in most other ways are very different. In this report we will examine the property market in each of them.

Portsmouth has a population around 205,000, lower than in the 1950s, but projections suggest it will exceed 220,500 by 2022. Partly due to its island setting it has the highest population density in the UK (excluding the 20 most densely populated London Boroughs).
The city's economy is centred around the marine and aerospace industries, especially the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard and BAE Systems Maritime facility, which provide 20,000 jobs. Portsmouth will be a base for the Royal Navy's two new 'super carriers', expected in 2017 and 2020, which will support thousands of ancillary jobs for the next few decades. Other significant employers (the area's largest employers are based around nearby Fareham and Havant) are financial and business services, light manufacturing, public services, transport and retail.

Some wards in the area, such as Paulsgrove and Charles Dickens, are amongst the most deprived in Hampshire. The local authority has an ambitious regeneration plan and has appointed a new economic development manager to retain and attract major businesses to Portsmouth. It projects that total investment in Portsmouth over the next 20 years will exceed £2bn. Plans include transforming the city centre with high rise and iconic buildings, a major business park and a £500m University of Portsmouth investment into new buildings. Major development is scheduled for Tipner and Horsea Island where 2,370 homes and employment sites offering 3,000 jobs could be developed over 20 years. Eventually 10,000 new jobs could be created and 18,000 new homes built.

A consultation to create a Solent Combined Authority, combining Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight has concluded. This would allow policy on economic growth, infrastructure and housing to be set locally with a £900m investment fund over 30 years. The Solent LEP estimate the Solent area could see another 61,000 jobs created by 2030.

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