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Investment Guide – Cardiff

Investment Guide


1.6 million


South Wales


Capital City of Wales


According to the Hometrack UK, property values in the Welsh Capital, Cardiff grew by 7.2% in 2016 whilst figures in London were at 7.3% growth. There is still a significant difference in average property prices where an average house price in London was £484,000 whilst average house prices in Cardiff are £195,000.

Cardiff is in every sense a capital city. Young, fast growing and transformational, the capital of Wales has an enviable reputation for its connected businesses community, international sports venues, cutting-edge media and a lifestyle that ranks among the best in Europe.


Cardiff’s economy has become more diverse moving away from heavy industry to services and knowledge driven sectors. Supported by a large and skilled labour market, the city is now one of the most competitive locations in the UK for skilled service sector businesses. In addition to the knowledge sector, the city is also home to various advanced manufacturing sectors – linking with local Universities, a lot of money has been invested in delivering world-class research.

Today, around 200,000 people are employed in the city and over 600,000 in the wider city region. Of this, over 50,000 people in Cardiff and over 100,000 in the city-region are employed in financial and professional services. The city also employs over 20,000 people in education and almost 30,000 in health care. An expanding creative cluster is home to around 10,000 people in the city and over 25,000 in the city-region.

The key sectors in the city – with both significant clusters of activity and capacity for growth – include, Finance and Professional Services, Creative Industries, Life Sciences as well as Advanced Manufacturing.
These sectors benefit from Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government support, as well as benefiting from a workforce stemming from the city’s universities.


In 2012 Cardiff (0.90) had the highest jobs density (defined as the total number of filled jobs in an area divided by the resident population aged 16–64 of that area) of the ten local authorities in South East Wales.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers and found Cardiff is the fastest paced jobs market in Wales.

Going into the second quarter of 2015, the national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook remains at +6% for the third successive quarter, indicating that the UK jobs market continues to plot a steadily optimistic course.

These regions are big hubs for the utilities sector, in which the Outlook for jobs has risen to +18%, its highest level for eight years.

20.4% of employees in Cardiff is based in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector, highlighting the growing retail and tourism industries in the city. A major £675 million regeneration programme for Cardiff’s St. David’s Centre was carried out between 2006 and 2009 which provides a total of 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2) of shopping space, making it one of the largest shopping centres in the United Kingdom.

Cardiff has above average levels of employment in the financial services sector in comparison with Wales and Great Britain as a whole. The city has above average representation in sectors such as financial services, the provision of call centres, TV and film, and the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations. Employment growth sectors in Cardiff have, to an extent, mirrored national trends, with particularly high levels of growth in construction, distribution, hotels and restaurants, transport and communications, banking, finance and insurance, and public administration, education and health.

The Cardiff-Newport metropolitan area has a population of 1.1 million.


Cardiff is a high-growth city which already benefits from the qualities that define competitive locations – from commerciality, connectivity and environment, to culture, character and quality of life and opportunity.

Except for a time of decline during the 1970s and 1980s, Cardiff’s population has continually grown since 1801. In 2008, it was the fastest-growing local authority in Wales with a growth rate of 1.2%. Between 2001 and 2011, Cardiff grew by 46,000, which was 25% of the country’s growth, and it now represents 30% of the country’s growth. 90% of the growth in the country is due to migration, not natural growth.

The population of Cardiff has grown so speedily over the last decade that a new “garden city” has been proposed to the west to accommodate the rising population.


Cardiff is very much an academic city with three universities all playing a vital role in driving the attractiveness of the regional economy. Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales boast between the two, nearly 80,000 students and over 12,000 staff.

Cardiff University has a strong reputation for the quality of its teaching and research and it is a member of the Russell group of leading research universities. There are around 30,000 students, including more than 3,000 from over 100 countries outside the UK, helping to create a vibrant, cosmopolitan community.

Ranked 6th in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), Cardiff University broke into the “Golden Triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London and confirmed its place as a world-leading university.

Cardiff Business School has a close relationship with businesses in the city, including its collaboration with Legal & General, which has led to Cardiff developing the largest cluster of medical underwriters in the UK.

Cardiff Metropolitan University is a leading new university mainly due to its career orientated courses that make graduates sought-after with employers. Cardiff Metropolitan is a growing university, with business and management a key strength.


Cardiff is closer than you think. With outstanding rail, road and air infrastructure, Cardiff connects with the rest of the UK quickly and effortlessly. Fewer than two hours from London, with exceptional transport and super-fast broadband, Cardiff is one of Europe’s top-connected and most competitive destinations.

Cardiff is on the M4, providing a direct route to London and the South East. The M50 and M5 provide fast links to the Midlands and the North of England.

Trains link most main cities with Cardiff. The journey between London Paddington and Cardiff is under 2 hours and leaves every 30 minutes. This is anticipated to decrease to one hour forty minutes by 2019. Cardiff also benefits from an 89 station urban rail network which will benefit from over £500m investment over the next five years.

Cardiff International Airport has scheduled services from many cities in the UK and Europe such as Amsterdam, Paris and Zurich.

Welsh Government statistics for 2008/09 showed that Cardiff had the lowest percentage of the population who travelled to work by car, van or minibus, suggesting the highest public transport usage to work out of all 22 local authorities in Wales.

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