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A Complete Guide to Living in Glasgow

17th November 2020

Glasgow is not only an academic and cultural hub of Scotland but is also the economic powerhouse of the nation. Over the past 30 years, Glasgow has reinvented itself into a thriving, metropolitan city continuing to transform its economy from heavy industry to a knowledge-based, technological hub.

History of Glasgow

Glasgow is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a wealth of cultural heritage to explore. The city’s roots can be traced back to the 12th century with the completion of the Cathedral on the site of St Kentigern’s first church, the patron saint of Glasgow. During this time, ‘Medieval Glasgow’ ran from the River Clyde, up through the Saltmarket, along High Street and up to the Cathedral. Many of the city’s medieval landscape of buildings now lie hidden beneath Glasgow’s Victorian architecture, expect for Glasgow Cathedral, Crookston Castle, Provand’s Lordship, Provan Hall, and the Trongate and Tolbooth Steeple – the city’s remaining medieval architecture which can still be visited today.

The University of Glasgow was founded in the 15th century and was established with the grounds of the cathedral. By the start of the 16th century, Glasgow had become an important religious and academic city and by the 17th century the University of Glasgow moved from the cathedral precincts to it’s own building in the city and it was in 1870 that the university attained its international stature.

Glasgow became an important trading centre during the 16th and 17th century as the Atlantic Trade routes opened. As the city’s wealth increased, the city centre expanded westwards towards the Merchant Square area began in spring up and with the new public buildings such as the City Chambers on George Square, Trades Hall and the Mitchell Library in Charing Cross were built epitomising the city’s new wealth and status.

During the industrial revolution the city became textile hub, as well as a hub for the local coal and iron works due to the abundance of coal and iron in Lanarkshire. It was only in the 19th century when the shipbuilding industry in Glasgow really took off and become the principle source of commerce for the city. Today, the city is still known for its shipbuilding industry with three shipyards located on the River Clyde.

Since the 1980’s, Glasgow has been reinventing itself into a thriving, metropolitan city continuing to transform its economy from heavy industry to a knowledge-based, technological hub.

Living in Glasgow

Glasgow is home to over 1.7 million residents, making it one of the most populous cities in the UK. The population of Glasgow is forecast to increase by 175,000 over the next 15 years – the same projection rate as the cities of New York, Paris and Los Angeles.

The city’s population growth is underpinned by the strong local job market and the falling unemployment rate. Glasgow is now home to 28% of all Scottish companies and provides a third of the country’s jobs. As a testament to the thriving Glasgow economy, the unemployment rate has fallen from its 11.9% high in 2012/2013 to 4.7% – a drop of 7.2% in 6 years. In addition to this, the employment rate has risen by 3% since 2016/2017, bringing Glasgow more in line with the Scotland average.

Considered the more friendly and trendier sister of Edinburgh, Glasgow has a growing working population demographic. The rental market absorbs many students and young professionals who’ve made the vibrant city their home with its strong career prospects. There are over 160,000 students enrolled at Glasgow’s four universities, three higher education colleges and three ‘super’ colleges. Almost half (46%) of all Glaswegians in employment are educated to degree level, making the city’s workforce one of the highest qualified in the UK. Coupled with a buzzing social scene and promising career prospects, the city has proven a tough one to leave. It currently holds the title for the highest student retention rate in the UK outside of London, at 51%.

For all the food lovers, Glasgow can offer a wide variety of bars, restaurants and cafes suitable for the different tastes. If you are in the mood for history, arts and culture, Glasgow’s over 20 galleries and museums will not disappoint. World famous venues like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum attract an incredible number of visitors and are a definite must see. The music and art lovers will be happy to know that Glasgow is home of the Scottish Opera, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Ballet and has major pop and rock acts play at different atmospheric venues, such as the Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.

Glasgow’s extensive public transport network comprises of rail, road and air linking the city to both domestic and international destinations. Glasgow has two international airports as well as Europe’s only city centre commercial seaplane terminal. Glasgow International Airport is the closest airport to the city and handles the majority of the city’s air traffic – connecting the city to domestic destinations such as London, the Outer Hebrides, the Inner Hebrides, the Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands and further afield international destinations in Europe, North America and Canada, and Asia.

Glasgow’s rail network is one of the densest heavy rail networks in the UK outside of London, with 186 stations across the Greater Glasgow area. The city’s two terminus stations, Glasgow Central station and Glasgow Queen Street stations connect the city with major towns and cities across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Glasgow is also home to the Glasgow Subway – a 15 station underground metro system linking the City Centre and the West End of Glasgow.

HS2 will catapult Glasgow’s future growth and further connectivity, as the city has been considered as priority location for this mammoth rail infrastructure project. The city is expected to home to a new terminus station from the first phase of the highly anticipated rail programme. The new high-speed rail station will be operational from as early as 2026 and will provide easier access to cities in the Northern Powerhouse region as well as London.

House prices in Glasgow are one of the fastest growing in the UK. This is largely attributed to the speed at which the city has gentrified. Even with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and COVID-19, total forecasts for Glasgow are expected to remain the same over the next 5-year period at 15.4% price growth and 13.7% rental growth.

Moving to Glasgow

Like many cities, Glasgow has truly embraced modern and cosmopolitan living in a big way, with plenty of housing options available. It’s very clear to see why people are moving to the city and calling it home. Our first development in Glasgow, Bell Street is due to complete in Q3 2021.

If you would like to find out more about Bell Street, please complete the below contact form.

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