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For many years overseas investors have been concentrating their cash on trophy investments in London and the South East.

But high demand and rocketing prices are obliging more and more overseas investors to look at the regional cities as well as the capital. Manchester and Birmingham are already seeing increased activity but Bristol is also on their radar.

Overseas investors own almost a quarter of income-producing commercial property in the UK, with shopping centres, warehouses, hotels and office buildings a favourite target. China, Russia and more recently Brazil have been busy in this area but there has also been a marked rise in investment from German funds and also from the Middle East.

Invest Bristol & Bath is helping to focus interest in the Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North-East Somerset areas and has worked closely with groups like the West of England China Bureau to raise the city's profile.

High-powered delegations from the major Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou have visited Bristol in the past month looking for investment opportunities.

Overseas investors snapping up competitively priced property has its drawbacks – sharpening demand and increasing competition for UK buyers – but this is more of an issue in London than it is in the regions.

So what is it that makes the Bristol and Bath area such a target for overseas investment?

As well as being a key regional transport and communications hub, the concentration of aerospace and other high-tech industries attracts and supports a highly skilled workforce ably supported by no fewer than four major universities.

UWE Bristol alone is investing £220 million in infrastructure including a dedicated business school building. The additional student accommodation required to support a steeply increasing student population is also proving highly attractive for overseas investors.

A report by Centre for Cities and McKinsey & Company named Bristol and Bath's high tech sector as the only fast-growing, globally-significant cluster of its kind in the UK, with the South West's aerospace sector highlighted in this category too.

The profusion of skills exhibited in the key growth areas such as aerospace, the nuclear industry; and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is further helping to focus overseas interest on what Bristol and Bath has got to offer.

Please call Paul Matthews at the Bruton Knowles Bristol office on 0117 287 2101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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