Is now the time to invest in Manchester’s property boom?

    23 November 2020

    Manchester stole headlines last month, but while the city’s Mayor spectacularly falls out with the Prime Minister, another revolution is brewing in the background – this time in property. While prices in London have flatlined and even fallen in places with more people considering rural locations outside the capital, the opposite seems to be happening in Manchester. Indeed, judging by its property boom, we’re certainly not done with city living yet.

    The green shoots of growth were evident in March 2020, when a new report by JLL, looking at the UK’s property prospects between now and the end of 2024, revealed Manchester is forecasted to have both the highest sales price growth (17.1 per cent) and rental uplift (16.5 per cent) of any UK city over the next five years.

    Already the forecast is being borne out. House prices in the city are rising, quantified by Zoopla in its latest House Price Index as a rise of 4.2 per cent between September 2019 and September 2020. Manchester was one of only eight cities tracked by the portal to have annual house price growth of more than 3 per cent – only beaten by Nottingham.

    The buoyancy is replicated in rentals, with Manchester claiming the top two spots in Insurer CIA’s list of cities that rank best for buy-to-let profitability, based on new data. In pole position was Salford in Greater Manchester. It scored a profitability rating of 6.27 out of 10 thanks to a below average house price (£173,311) coupled with high rental incomes (an average £1,052 per month).

    Manchester City itself took second spot, with a profitability score of 6.26 out of 10. Although the average property cost is marginally more expensive than Salford (£193,681), the average rental income (£1,141 per month) works in the City’s favour.

    The momentum in Manchester is ongoing, with a £1.4 billion regeneration scheme underway in the city centre, running alongside The Great Manchester Spatial Framework and the Clean Air Plan – both of which are flexing to accommodate current and post-pandemic priorities. A new £23 million park, the first central green area in the city for 100 years, will grant thousands better access to open space. It’s an amenity that will be joined by 320,000 square feet of commercial space, new restaurants, bars, shops and a hotel, plus 1,500 new homes in the area.

    Part of the ambitious plan is Viadux – a 40-storey apartment complex to be built in one of Manchester’s most prestigious quarters. The scheme follows an increasingly popular lifestyle template seen in London developments, with the promise of a gym, yoga studio and cinema with tiered seating. Viadux’s developer, Salboy, has already started to sell units to UK and overseas investors, mirroring JLL’s prediction that Manchester’s prospects in four years time, when Viadux’s construction is scheduled for completion, are likely to remain attractive.

    If you’re an investor or looking for a new start, Manchester looks to be well worth further investigation.

    Ed Mead is Co founder and Chief executive of property viewing service Viewber. Twitter: @ed_mead