Whether an investor looking for a new opportunity, a first-time buyer looking to take the first step onto the property ladder or second-movers looking to upgrade their current property, Manchester has always been a city high on the list of desirable locations that could fulfil all these housing needs.
Manchester’s property market is so robust that it can be all things to all people—the city’s generally lower-than-average house prices appeal to owner-occupiers, whereas its thriving rental demand and its capacity for capital appreciation have enticed property investors in their thousands.
At one time, the location that many house-hunters and investors would instantly look towards would have been the UK’s capital city of London, but now its housing market is well documented for being notoriously unstable, with unsustainable house price growth growing at an exponential rate, and a mass exodus of renters and homeowners alike that have left the capital as a result.
Because of the influx of people leaving the capital, these migrators are therefore in need of another thriving city in which to call home, with Manchester, the UK’s ‘second city’, filling that gap.
An ever-growing city
Manchester has grown on all fronts in the past decade, boasting an upward trajectory in both population and house prices.
Government data shows that in 2014 Manchester’s population exceeded 520,000, growing by 1.1% from the previous year—accounting for an annual growth of over 6,000 people in real terms. However, this was just the growth recorded in the city centre—the overall growth in the city’s region of Greater Manchester showed a population growth of 17,910 across the same period, equating to a growth of 50 additional people PER DAY.
In conjunction with the region’s ever-growing populace, Manchester’s house prices have grown in tandem. Last year, prices in the area rose by an unprecedented 18%, which led national press to report that house prices in Manchester were rising faster than London. This highlights the scale of both growth and demand in the city’s housing market, which continues to grow from strength to strength as the market matures and expands.
Furthermore, this growth is not set to stop in the future and beyond—research conducted by online estate agent HouseSimple has shown Manchester as the number one location where property prices are likely to boom in the next decade, whilst the likes of London falling by the wayside. The research was based on a number of key indicators, including prime amenities, excellent transport links, a good population and a thriving housing market, which are prime measures of future growth and demand.
But why is Manchester such a popular place to live and work?
For years, Manchester has always had a plethora of untapped potential as an affordable and tangible place to live and work, but has long since been in the shadow of London, its larger Southern counterpart. However, a number of factors in the past decade have helped swing the pendulum back in Manchester’s favour, from investments into infrastructure and transport, to the growing student population and an explosion of bars, eateries and cultural amenities which have enhanced thecity’s reputation as the new place to be.
It could be said that Manchester’s ever-growing popularity could be traced back to the arrival of the BBC and ITV studios to Manchester’s iconic Salford Quays waterfront from their headquarters in London in 2011. At the time, this was an unprecedented move, but in the years since the transition has proved to be a massive success—since the broadcasters’ arrival, the whole area has been transformed into a media hub, rebranded MediaCityUK, and attracts millions of visitors every year. This then opened the floodgate for more and more businesses and workers alike to follow in their footsteps and relocate Northbound to take advantage of all that Manchester has to offer.
However, Manchester is not just the perfect fit for those looking to live in the city—it is also a prime location for investors too, looking to invest in one of the UK’s property hotspots.
Manchester has recently been named the UK’s number one buy-to-let hotspot 2015 by HSBC bank, and this comes as no surprise. The city is a firm investor favourite, offering the trifecta high on any investor wish-list: lower-than-average purchase prices (with capacity for capital appreciation), higher-than-average yields and skyrocketing rental demand, meaning minimal void periods.
With near-perfect investor conditions, it is unsurprising that Manchester is attracting of landlords in their thousands, all of whom are keen to either begin a new, or in some cases enhance their existing, property portfolio.
Education in Manchester
Its vast student population reflects Manchester’s popularity as a first-class student destination. With currently over 99,000 students across four universities; University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Bolton, the city region has one of the largest student populations in the UK, not to mention in Europe. The region is also home to the Royal Northern College of Music and the University Campus Oldham. In, addition to the four universities in the city region there are a further 22 universities and higher education institutes in the North West, making for an additional population of around 400,000 students in the surrounding areas.
Being a central node in the UK’s rail network, Manchester city region is perfectly located to allow easy access from all parts of England, Scotland & Wales with 3 trains an hour to London taking just under 2 hours.
Manchester is at the heart of the Northern Hub, a major railway investment scheme that will see a series of improvements across the North of England rail network that will mean faster and more frequent services with 700 additional trains per day. New investment in regional rail routes means that Liverpool will be reached in just 30 minutes and Leeds in 45 minutes. Manchester’s rail system will be further enhanced with the arrival of HS2 which will reduce journey times between Manchester and London to 1 hr 8 mins. This high-speed rail network linking London, the West Midlands and Leeds will be the fastest in Europe, travelling at 250 mph.
Manchester city region lies at the heart of an expansive motorway network, ensuring easy access to the UK’s major cities and centres of commerce. The road infrastructure in and around greater Manchester means that 60% of all businesses and a consumer market of 20 million are within 2 hours drive time of the city centre. With 25% of the nation’s motorway miles, the city region boasts one of the best road networks in the UK with both linear and orbital motorways.
The M62 (East) links Manchester with Leeds, the Humber ports the M1 and the A1. The M62 West means access to Liverpool and Warrington is made remarkably easy, taking less than an hour to travel from Manchester to Liverpool. The M6 Northbound links Manchester to the Lake District, Carlisle and Scotland. The M6 Southbound links the city region to Birmingham, Bristol, Wales and London. The M60 ring road, completed in 2001, makes access in and around the city centre much easier and has also helped to make the traffic flow less congested. As the M60 is circular running through the conurbation of Greater Manchester, it has greatly improved the city region’s inter-suburban links, a major accessibility factor when deciding to locate. The A57/M1 South connects Manchester with Sheffield, Nottingham and London and providing access to the East of England.
Manchester Airport is the UK’s largest regional international airport. The Airport flies direct to over 200 destinations, including all of Europe’s major cities, the Middle East, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and 11 US cities including Boston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Manchester Airport handles more than 22 million passengers each year. Passenger capacity is expected to reach 50 million per year by 2030 and heavy investment is planned for its future growth.
This includes a £1bn investment to develop its airside facilities to increase capacity and improve customer experience to support its growing international routes. This is in addition to the £800m Airport City Manchester, and the creation of a £130m China Cluster, which will provide a commercial base for Chinese businesses.
The largest freight terminal outside of London is based at Manchester Airport. The airport currently handles around 120,000 tonnes of import and export freight and mail annually. Manchester’s largest cargo markets are the Far East, North America and the Middle East.
Going forward, Manchester Airport is looking to consolidate and strengthen its charter and short haul scheduled services and further develop its offerings in the long haul market.
The airport continually invests in its world-class facilities with many projects including:
- Creation of the Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone.
- A £35 million redevelopment for Terminal 1.
- Terminal 2 retail, catering and security upgrades totalling £11 million.
- A third platform at ‘The Station’ further enhancing access to the city centre & region directly from the terminals.