The UK’s Fastest Growing Cities

The UK’s Fastest Growing Cities
Credit: Unsplash

Construction, building and metal materials have been in heavy demand in the UK over the last couple of years. As the British economy grows with increased development in both residential and commercial properties, towns and cities across the nation are thriving once more as we re-enter restriction-free living.

Due to these rising demands and their intriguing possibilities, we’ve created a five-factor scoring index to discover the UK’s fastest-growing cities of 2022.

The index is based on five key data indicators*

  • Population size, by city
  • Number of new companies registered, by city
  • Business survival rates, by city
  • Average cost of living, by city
  • metals4U commercial sales rates

The UK’s Fastest Growing City Index uses a comprehensive points-based scoring system* for the five key data factors included. Each data point is weighted into a total index score out of 100 (100 being the highest score), providing us with the top 10 fastest growing cities of 2022.

Bradford is crowned the UK’s fastest-growing city

God’s own county, Yorkshire, was revealed as the top county, as both Bradford and Wakefield topped the city charts across the UK.

The UK’s Fastest Growing Cities - Inforgraphic

In the running to win UK City of Culture 2025, Bradford has been crowned the fastest growing city for 2022. With 1,684 new businesses registered per capita (100,000), and a soaring 91.5% business survival rate in the region, the area is thriving and ready to lead change over the coming years. The average house price in Bradford (in Dec 2021) was at a reasonable £275,0001 and currently has one of the lowest costs of living in the UK with the average rent costing £443.122 per month, showing the city's great value for money.

Following closely behind in second place is Wakefield with a high index score of 90 and an average business survival rate of 90.1%. The average rent in this area is at a low price of £521.672 per month, and in 2020 it saw 2,250 new businesses registered, dubbing this coal-mining heritage city as another up-and-coming spot in Yorkshire. Wrexham, which came in at third also saw an exceptionally high business survival rate of 92.1% with a particularly low average cost of living at £437.502 per month for rent.

Fastest growing cities by sector

Want to know the coolest new place for shopping, culinary delights or seek out the next up-and-coming place to live? By amalgamating population data on a city level and by sector-specific business births into a per capita basis (of 100,000 people), we were able to create a scoring index to list the top cities for tech, hospitality, retail and construction.

Keep reading below to find out which cities have come out on top…they might just surprise you.

Canterbury takes the top spot for retail and hospitality and construction

UK's Fastest Growing Cities in Retail

Perhaps unexpectedly, Canterbury has made it to the top spot for retail and hospitality and construction when comparing the number of new business births in 2020/21 to average population size (of 100,00) per capita.

With 7,897 new retail openings and 5,990 hospitality-related start-ups across 2021/22, Canterbury is making great efforts to become a hotspot for tourism. Furthermore, with 18,466 new construction organisations, we can certainly expect to see some fresh spaces for living and leisure, plus with a business survival rate of 90.5%, we have high hopes that Canterbury’s growth will be sustainable.

UK's Fastest Growing Cities in Hospitality

Reading came in at a sweet second with 9,540 with business births in the hospitality sector accounting for 16.4% of all new businesses within the city. Milton Keynes came in at a respectable third place with 23,142 new businesses (per capita) with 3,860 of those being within hospitality.

UK's Fastest Growing Cities in Construction

Construction levels provide a good indication into the growth and investment of an area. The last few years have seen a rapid rise in demand for construction and housing as people seek a fresh start. Canterbury was once again the winner in this sector, with 18,466 business births over the two-year period of 2020/21. However, with the average rent in this area at £716.672 per month, it ranks higher on the chart for the cost of living, sitting in 37th place, acting as a nod towards the city’s growing popularity.

Interestingly, London makes the charts in 10th place for construction, but Manchester, Portsmouth, Norwich, and Nottingham all take precedence over the capital's usual lustre for commercial growth.

Reading the fastest growing city for tech

The city of Reading, also well-known for its commercial focuses on insurance and retail, has scored the top spot for the fastest-growing city in tech. The city came high in the rankings for many of the sectors, and has come out top for tech due to its large rate of growth in relation to population per capita. In 2020/21 it saw 4,472 new tech organisations open and 58,083 new businesses in total.

UK's Fastest Growing Cities in Construction

Famous for their scholarly excellence, both Cambridge (5th) and Oxford (6th) rank side by side, familiar to what we see in the university ranking pages. Cambridge saw 1,140 new tech businesses start throughout 2020/21 with Oxford closely behind at 965. Both known to be cutting edge in science and research, these two cities have always been popular destinations for companies to set up their business endeavours.

Whether you are considering a relocation, starting up a new business or just looking for a weekend away, the UK’s Fastest Growing City Index provides you with insights and inspiration on the top cities for 2022.

If you are building a new business or working in construction, take a look through our wide range of products or speak to our support team who can consult and support you with your needs.




*Methodology and Sources

The UK’s Fastest Growing City Index is made up of five key data sources which are amalgamated and weighted into a points-based scoring system that ranges from 1 (lowest) to 100 (highest). To take an accurate reading of the data for each city, population size was factored into the index and ensured that each data point was balanced against a per capita of population per 100,000 people.

To rank cities into a sector-specific chart, we used a similar approach and took the number of new businesses in total, the number of new businesses registered under a specific sector, and ranked this against the population size of a city per capita of 100,000 people.

The five key data sources for UK’s Fastest Growing City Index

Key data sources for sector breakdown ranking