The Premier League, the world’s most watched and talked about club competition, starts up again tomorrow lunchtime when title holders Leicester City take on newly promoted Hull.
The Foxes caused one of the biggest shocks in footballing history last season when they stormed home to title-winning glory by 10 points, inspired by the exploits of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kanté. Their odds of winning the league before the season started? A massive 5,000-1.
This year is set to be even better. It’s widely predicted to be the most competitive campaign ever seen, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all boasting new managers and the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton, Leicester and West Ham eager to challenge.
Leicester’s triumph means all predictions for this season have gone out of the window – literally anything could happen.
To put our own property spin on the return of the thrills, spills, drama, intrigue and controversy that the Premier League always guarantees, we have analysed the regions where English football’s top sides ply their trade to check out how their property markets are performing.
Middlesbrough, back in the big-time after seven seasons away, have been making some interesting signings – none more so than former Man City forward Álvaro Negredo – but Aitor Karanka’s side are expected to face a battle to stave off relegation.
Something their near neighbours Sunderland have been just about doing for years. They managed it again last year, by the skin of their teeth, but have since lost their manager to the lure of the England job.
But, more importantly, what of the property market in the North East?
Both Middlesbrough and Sunderland are very much towards the affordable end of the market – the average price in the former is a lowly £132,987, while in Sunderland it’s slightly higher at £154,815.
Average rents are also reasonable, with tenants paying around £521pcm in Middlesbrough and £621pcm in Sunderland. This is likely to get you a three bedroom house (at least) in these areas.
Yorkshire & Humberside
Hull City came up via the play-offs last year, although the manager who led them there, Steve Bruce, has since left the KC Stadium, citing frustration with the club’s lack of transfer activity.
Some say Hull will have only 12 or 13 fit players going into the season, and they are expected by many to struggle.
The same can’t be said for Hull’s property market, however. Although the average asking price is only £109,476, prices have risen by 7% since 2013 and only look set to rise further in the coming years.
It’s an area that property investors should seriously consider, with its significant student population making it an attractive investment choice.
Home to some of English football’s most famous clubs, the North West’s property market offers plenty to excite as well.
Manchester United, with arch-Marmite figure Jose Mourinho now in charge, have spent huge to try and rekindle past glories, Manchester City have serial winner Pep Guardiola in charge after a disappointing season last time out, Liverpool are expected to improve under the stewardship of the eccentric German Jurgen Klopp and Everton hope that Ronald Koeman can repeat his success with Southampton and lead them out of the rut they’ve been in for the last two years.
We musn’t forget Burnley, too. The Clarets won the Championship last season to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. They will be expected to struggle, with comfortably the lowest budget in the division, but in Sean Dyche they have a very canny, astute manager who may be able to spring one or two surprises.
As for the property market, well, both Liverpool and Manchester have thriving ones. The overall average asking price for property in Manchester is currently £164,428, up by 6% in the last year.
Liverpool, meanwhile, has an average asking price of£145,334, with terraced properties – iconic in the city – by far the most popular type of home sold.
Burnley, 20 miles or so north of Manchester, has an asking price of just £94,028, making it one of the most affordable towns in the whole of the UK.
The extraordinary feat managed last season by Leicester, the Premier League’s only East Midlands-based club, may never be bettered – but the club are determined to build on last year’s success.
If nothing else, Leicester will be experiencing Champions League football at the King Power Stadium – something that would have seemed beyond the realms of possibility a year ago.
The city can also be counted as an affordable place to buy, with an average asking price of £181,576 (up by 6% in the last year) and an average rent of £750pcm.
Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion will both be expecting solid seasons, with their respective Welsh managers Mark 'Sparky' Hughes and Tony Pulis using their very differing playing styles to bring about success.
The West Midlands is one of the most affordable regions in England, with an average property price of £130,730 (up by 3%) in West Bromwich and £124,409 (up 5%) in Stoke-on-Trent. Both have thriving rental markets, too, with average rents around the £650pcm mark.
Like the property market, London dominates the Premier League. Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Spurs, West Ham and Watford (OK, Watford’s pushing it, but it’s sort of Greater London!) all ply their trade in the capital.
Looking at London as a whole, the current average asking price is a massive £680,902 – streets ahead of the rest of the country.
Meanwhile, average property prices near Arsenal and Chelsea’s grounds are comfortably higher than Spurs, West Ham and Palace.
In the capital, which tends to operate in a different sphere to the rest of the country, prices have increased by 7% in the last year and a staggering 21% since 2013.
As for the rental market, landlords are likely to be more pleased than tenants with an average property rent of £2,767pcm.
Flying the flag for the South East this season is once again Southampton FC, best known for their distinctive red and white colour strip. The club have a new manager and have lost a number of key players, but they are still expected to build on last year’s excellent 6th place finish.
The city’s property market also performed strongly in the last 12 months, with prices rising by 3%.
The average asking price for a home in Southampton is £207,059, making it popular among commuters and young families.
Bournemouth, the South West’s only top-flight club, survived comfortably in their first season in the Premier League and are expected to do likewise this time out.
The average price of property in Bournemouth is a promising £248,332, a 5% rise from last year and 12% up on 2010 levels. Flats are the most popular type of property, as you might expect from an area with a high number of young professionals and landlords letting homes to students.
The red part of the UK is represented by Swansea City. Known for their attractive playing style, the club has become firmly established in the Premier League since 2011.
South Wales is generally seen as an affordable location in which to buy – and Swansea is no different.
The average asking price is £128,653, up 3% since last year. Terraced homes and semi-detached properties make up a large part of the housing stock.
London, as expected, dwarfs the rest of the country when it comes to house prices and rents.
In the Premier League, however, the North West sides will be desperate to ensure London domination doesn’t stretch to football.
And the sole team from the East Midlands shouldn’t be written off either. Not after last year...
*All data sourced from Rightmove and home.co.uk on August 12th 2016