Cathedrals are often a good indicator of vibrant, successful cities. International property expert and founder of Hurst & Wills, Lisa Bathurst, provides some tips on cathedral cities to consider for investment, as well as the developments they offer.
“A cathedral is so much more than just a beautiful, large church. It adds a sense of ceremony and gravitas to a place and creates a wonderful central gathering space,” explains Bathurst. The word ‘cathedral’ comes from the Latin word ‘cathedra’ meaning ‘seat’ or ‘chair’ and refers to the presence of the bishop’s or archbishop’s chair or throne. “Generally, cities with cathedrals are not only beautiful, but also have excellent schools, transport links and high-end amenities, making these places worthy investments,” says Bathurst.
Manchester’s cathedral is the centre of a vibrant worshipping community and is a popular venue for concerts and exhibitions. The cathedral began from a royal charter signed by Henry V in 1421 that granted permission for a collegiate church to be built. The church became a cathedral in 1847 when the new Manchester diocese was created. It has literally been centre stage to the city's history for nearly 600 years.
“A stone’s throw away from this heart of the city, is uptown Manchester with premium riverside apartments situated on the banks of the River Irwell,” says Bathurst. “In Uptown you get the convenience of city living from a stylish waterfront location. The development comprises of 156 one- and two-bedroom apartments with luxurious interiors, large communal areas and private terraces, built in a contemporary industrial style,” she says. The apartments are priced from £224,000, with a 6% net yield.
Liverpool’s cathedral is Britain's largest cathedral, the fifth largest in Europe and the world’s biggest Anglican cathedral. This magnificent neo-Gothic building was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also created Britain’s famous red telephone boxes.
“Close by this stunning building is Hatton Gardens in Liverpool City Centre,” says Bathurst. “This quiet area is sandwiched between the Georgian Quarter, which is the retail core, and the commercial district. It’s the perfect location for city centre living, near to transport, 100m from St Johns Garden and a 4-minute walk from Lime Street,” she says. “This development is perfect for young professionals and couples. Each apartment radiates a homely feel without compromising on space or style. There are studio, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments available from £100,00.
“Property prices near this cathedral – the third smallest in England – are rising fast,” says Bathurst. “We recommend Park Gate at Lyndon Place,” says Bathurst. “This development is situated between Birmingham’s buzzing city centre and the international airport hub, it’s also near to the new HS2 rail network,” she says. “It’s made up of 126 spacious studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, priced from £127,000. There is an expected rental yield of 6%, and it comes with a gym and reception area.”
London - St Pauls
St Paul's Cathedral in London must be one of the world’s most famous cathedrals, situated on Ludgate Hill - the highest point in the City of London. This Anglican cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London.
“Nearby you’ll find the Shoreditch Exchange, in Shoreditch - London's most evolving and strongest performing borough,” says Bathurst. “This luxury development is the essence of communal living, with private courtyards, a roof terrace, cinema room and sophisticated designer interiors, all within walking distance of the City,” she says. Apartments are priced from £749,000 for a 99-year lease with a full title deed for the property.
The spectacular Christ Church Cathedral has the uniquely dual role of also being the chapel of Christ Church at the University of Oxford.
“Property close by is the elegant and stylish Regent’s Park House, a ground-breaking development and contemporary addition to Oxfordshire’s landscape,” says Bathurst. “It is 15 minutes to Oxford or 41 minutes to London Marylebone, by train. Apartments, priced from £250,000, are 2002 ft, so larger than the average London apartment and have an expected rental income of £15,000 pa.”
The Lisbon Cathedral, called the Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa (Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint Mary Major), is the oldest place of worship in Lisbon and survived the 1755 earthquake.
“There are exceptional new contemporary apartments spread among Lisbon’s most exciting, modern and family-friendly Park of Nations district,” says Bathurst. “This development was created by the award-winning Elegant Group and designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Eduardo Capinha Lopes. It’s a Martinhal Residence and combines luxury family living with superb amenities and excellent concierge services,” she says. “Units are priced from €260,000, with a fixed net rental income for 6 years. All the properties are freehold,” she says. “This is a fantastic real estate investment opportunity.”
Porto’s Cathedral, the Se do Porto, is one of the oldest buildings in Porto. It has spectacular views over the city and river, with a splendid interior.
Nearby, you’ll find The Rebello Hotel, a stunning warehouse conversion, currently being built, on the banks of the river Douro overlooking Porto,” says Bathurst. “This magnificent building fuses a hotel development with residential apartments, and has two restaurants, a destination spa with indoor and outdoor pools and a fashionable rooftop bar offering spectacular views across the river,” she says. “Apartments are priced from €4000/m2 with guaranteed returns within a rental pool and capital growth during construction,” she says.
Évora's imposing cathedral, the Sé Catedral de Évora, is situated in the very heart of the old city and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“The Mouraria neighbourhood is one of the most iconic places in Évora’s historical city centre. It has the classic narrow alleys filled with very typical beautiful houses, and amazing local restaurants. It’s also situated close to well-known landmarks like the Roman Diana temple and Giraldo Square, which creates a very special and pleasant atmosphere. Here you can get a three-bedroomed house from €280,000, which will qualify you for the €350,000 Golden Visa. We expect a yield of 4% on these types of properties,” she says.
“Before buying a property in a city abroad, make sure you contact an independent property specialist, like Hurst & Wills for personal advice suited to your unique wealth strategy,” says Bathurst.