By Jane Barker, Managing Director, Brio Retirement Living
As Aberdeen starts to show signs of recovery, more confidence in the market will be essential to help strengthen the green shoots that are starting to appear. With the tide slowly starting to turn in the oil and gas industry and new figures painting a positive picture of the housing market, the time is ripe for further investment in the region.
Aberdeenshire has lots to offer investors, residents and workers with excellent transport links, a thriving cultural scene and opportunities created by recent expansion in sectors such as engineering, science and software.
The housing outlook is looking brighter too. According to Savills, more properties are being bought and sold, and average house prices are increasing in the North East. In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire residential transactions increased by 7% compared to last year - the first increase since the second quarter of 2014.
Figures from the National Records of Scotland show that Aberdeen’s population is also expected to grow by a further 24% by 2039 – the largest rise of any city in Scotland. And migration figures are on the up, bucking previous trends with more people now seeking to live and work in Aberdeen.
Stronger prospects and anticipated growth point to a region which we have every confidence will continue to strengthen economically.
This potential was one of the major reasons behind us selecting Aberdeenshire as the location of our first ever retirement village when we launched Brio Retirement Living in April 2017. With £200m to invest, we pinpointed Chapelton as a preferred site. This exciting new town will integrate our aspirational retirement village at its very heart, providing 94 one and two-bedroom apartments and cottages, alongside a range of village facilities such as a brasserie, green outdoor spaces with exercise trails, plus a variety of social and skills-sharing opportunities.
Crucially, the development will also tackle a major issue affecting the whole of the UK – the chronic undersupply of retirement housing. Long term, more suitable retirement housing will play a major role in helping to free up larger family homes by helping the over 55s to downsize. This will boost housing supply which will in turn, strengthen the sustainability of local communities by providing more suitable housing for all ages.
As one of a growing number of developers and businesses that have chosen to invest in Chapelton, it is clear that confidence is growing but we need to keep the momentum going.
Although Aberdeenshire may not be out of the woods just yet, it is making significant progress on its journey. With signals pointing to a brighter future, now is the time for optimism and encouraging further investment.
Those considering Aberdeenshire as a place to invest or live, should take a longer-term view, consider its wider potential and what the future could hold. We did and haven’t looked back. With construction of our first retirement village well underway, we’re looking forward to being part of a new community, providing new homes and facilities for local people and adding to the vibrancy of Chapelton as well as the future prosperity of Aberdeenshire. We hope other investors will take a similar view to help Aberdeenshire turn the corner and succeed on its road to recovery.