Sitting in the eastern foothills of the Pennines and having received its city charter in 1987, Bradford is the second most populous city in West Yorkshire, after Leeds. Before gaining city status It was one of the earliest settlements to go through a process of industrialisation, becoming the wool capital of the world, known also as Wool City and Woolopolis. Like many UK cities, the second part of the 20th century saw the city fall into industrial decline and the textile sector largely disappeared, giving way to poverty and unemployment. Now, Bradford has an economy which is worth around 12 billion and the city is the third largest economy in the Yorkshire and Humber region after Leeds and Sheffield.
The economy of Bradford today is varied and includes, advanced engineering, chemical, automotive, food production, financial and legal services and digital. The manufacturing base of the city is, however, most notable. 12% of people employed in Bradford work in manufacturing, compared to 8% nationally, with 1,200 manufacturing businesses, employing more than 24,000 people. But as well as this, Bradford is home to several headquarters for large, national businesses, including Morrisons, Yorkshire Bank, Yorkshire Building Society, Hallmark Cards and Arris. It was also identified, by Barclays Bank, as being the best place in Britain to start a business and by the Sunday Times, in 2020, as one of the best places for business growth.
But aside from the economy, Bradford is also a major cultural centre. It was the first UNESCO City of Film, supporting TV production and film through the Bradford Film Office. It is home to the National Science and Media Museum, the Alhambra theatre and Cartwright Hall. Most importantly, perhaps it has been awarded the UK City of Culture, 2025, having won the title in early 2022. The City of Culture is an award given out by the UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which in real terms, will mean a year of celebrations and events in Bradford in '25, along with funding that will be used to shore-up and develop the cultural offerings of the city.
Bradford is certainly one of the cheaper areas of the UK in which to buy a home, however, for buy-to-let landlords, it is worth noting that these low prices, combined with a strong rental market, means that rental yields in Bradford can be very healthy, sometimes topping 8%. While Bradford has very little by way of the city-living sky-rise apartment culture of nearby Leeds and Sheffield, its housing stock is generally what you would expect of a modern city. From one-bed apartments for young professionals, through to family homes, from buy-to-let to build-to-rent, from family homes to purpose-built student accommodation, the city has something to offer for everyone.