Move over London, there’s a new boom town to head to. Amid surging property values and a rapidly-growing job market, MK has been found to be one of the fastest growing towns in Europe, making it a magnet for newcomers from across the UK and beyond.
It’s no secret that the capital has been losing its lustre in recent years, owing partly to exorbitant housing costs as well as a slowing job market that has allowed other urban areas to capitalise. Milton Keynes appears to be outshining them all, with some of the strongest future prospects out of anywhere else in the UK. Here’s why.
A Magnet for Investment
Much of MK’s growth in recent years has been fuelled by record amounts of domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI), which has allowed tens of billions of pounds to flow into the local economy. Job growth has reached over 20% across the past decade, while current year-on-year growth amounts to more than double the growth of Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham.
The city is strategically-placed with the Cambridge-MK-Oxford “knowledge corridor”, which has encouraged talent and capital to flock to the region, and big companies to follow. The biggest businesses to set up shop here in recent years include Dominos UK, Satellite Information Services (SiS), and the global elite education network Cognita.
A Thriving Tech Sector
Technology companies have been the engine of MK’s recent growth, with the city now flagging up on the radars of talented programmers and developers across the world as a place to launch a career in tech. The city is ranked as having the strongest technology sector in the UK, thanks partly to the rich level of local talent available among the highly-educated residents, as well as a very high level of “connectivity”, meaning that the city is better equipped to adopt new technologies than most others.
Milton Keynes has also demonstrated a strong ability to adapt to changes in the modern economy. The city has embraced the convenience and sharing economy, with hundreds of e-commerce and digital services startups now based in The Hub MK. Residents have also embraced technological change, with digitally-savvy locals doing their food shopping via Ocado, finances through Revolut, and even getting their fortunes told via digital clairvoyance platforms like TheCircle. It certainly looks like MK is the city of the future.
Tech hubs such as The Hub MK and the upcoming $200 million Santander Technology Hub are also helping to boost the prospects of those living in the city.
It also helps that the city is a great place to live, which has added to the allure of MK over the overpopulated, overpriced, and polluted capital. While house price growth is reaching record levels, the property market is still one of the most affordable in the country, although this may not be the case for much longer.
The pleasant urban design, huge amounts of green spaces, a thriving culinary and nightlife scene, and big salaries have allowed the city to recently be ranked as one of the best places to live and work in the UK, particularly for young families and the middle-aged.
MK’s allure is obvious, and with so many finally paying attention on the national stage, those that already live here should feel lucky to do so.