Greater Manchester – Is This Only the Beginning?

Over the past year, Greater Manchester has dominated the headlines in regional, national and even international news. Discussion points have included how its airport has surpassed its own record numbers in terms of passengers, how it forms the centre of Chancellor Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse initiative to rebalance the British economy, how big the benefits for the city are going to be once the high speed railway network HS2 comes to fruition, and most recently, how Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the region on the first ever State visit of a Chinese President – his only destination besides the country’s capital.

It’s true – Greater Manchester has had a highly positive year filled with good news. It is therefore no surprise that an increasing number of businesses, and with it, a large flock of young professionals are relocating to the area.
But what has that done to local rental prices? Many sources have crowned the region, in particular its cities of Manchester and Salford, as the of UK’s buy-to-let hotspot of choice, due to the rapidly growing demand for rental accommodation.

Looking at the local rental market, one will find that a clear trend has emerged: homes next to Metrolink stations are, on average, higher than the ones further away from transportation links. For instance, data from the online portal Zoopla shows that the most affordable area in Greater Manchester is alongside the Rochdale tram line, with an average monthly rental price of £404 for a one-bedroom apartment. Towards the areas where the region has seen major regeneration projects and housing schemes, such as Manchester’s city centre, Ancoats and Salford Quays, the prices are of course a lot higher: the same apartment would cost £690pcm in Salford Quays, £785pcm around Piccadilly Gardens and £734pcm at the New Islington station.

Research has shown that easy access to an extensive transportation network, particularly tram stations, is highly popular with property hunters. It is estimated that if a property is located within approximately a 500m radius of a tram station, people are willing to pay up to 4.6% more for it. With a total of 94 Metrolink stops, Manchester has tram stations aplenty, leading to almost 70% of all homes being at least in a 1,500m radius of a station.

From this data alone it is possible to see how huge the potential of Greater Manchester truly is. Investors, companies and residents alike are realising that this city is on its path to something special – the sheer increase in investment and business activity are testament to that. Regeneration schemes such as the bespoke HS2 project, further enhancements to local infrastructure, ventures in line with the £1bn Devolution Deal to more effectively streamline spending, are sure to give Greater Manchester another major boost.
It is safe to say that as much as the city already presents itself as a fantastic investment opportunity – particularly when it comes to property – investors are set for even better times ahead.