Manchester is a dominant force on the rental market. It’s rich in career prospects. It’s vibrant and cultured. It’s also affordable to buy and live in. All of this is great news for residential property investment in Manchester.
As the market matures, however, city residents have become more aware of what it can give them. Developers and investors can’t ignore these expectations. They must continue to strive higher in order to stay competitive.
But what exactly do Manchester residents want from city centre living? We asked locals what they look for to assess how well we’re fulfilling their desires:
It was only a few years ago that cities like London, Glasgow and Bristol dominated the UK. Now it’s Manchester’s turn at the head of the table.
Outside of London, Manchester has the healthiest economy: something that’s predicted to grow 45% by 2036. It has witnessed the fastest such change out of any other urban location in the UK, from 2002-2015. Looking back further, jobs have grown 84% from 1998, drawing more and more people to work in the city centre.
Many FTSE 100 companies are headquartered or have a branch in the region. Meanwhile, the startup scene is something to behold; in 2016, there were 52,000 jobs in the digital market alone, with investment and co-working riding an upward trajectory.
Manchester property investment seems to have it all for young professionals in search of a career. That’s hardly surprising when we learn that 40% of residents are qualified to degree level or above, whilst the graduate retention rate sits at 70%.
Paul Stacey, 37, is one business owner who knows the value of proximity to such a flourishing environment: “I want city centre living to be as close as possible to my office. However, there needs to be money left over too – enough for me to enjoy my life out of hours. I want a place that has a buzz to it too.”
Location is key. Enigma – our latest development on the lip of the River Irwell – is a launchpad to whatever work ambitions a renter may have.
A mere three-minute walk from Victoria station, it’s right on the edge of Spinningfields and the Green Quarter – a short walk to dozens of offices, cafés and meeting spots. For commuters, there are nearby tram and train links, as well as the prospect of the HS2 railway. No one has to spend hours getting to their work environment each day. That’s a huge benefit, especially when you consider how dense the Mancunian business landscape has become.
Nightlife is also a chief concern among younger renters. Manchester has always catered for this, ever since the Hacienda-led musical movement of the 80s and early 90s. But it still continues to make a distinctive mark on music, art and sport. City centre living should, ideally, place residents in a melting pot of pursuits.
Manchester Arena (on the opposite side of the river) remains a premier live venue; many of the biggest musical artists in the world have graced its stage The soon-to-be-built Factory arts centre is causing much excitement, and will stand just a 15-minute stroll from the gates of our development. The National Football Museum is another big attraction. Really, though, it is the mass of bars, clubs and restaurants that draws the crowds, infused with a multicultural sensibility – enough for it to influence where renters choose to stay.
“I look for a space that is close enough to the epicentre of everything going on in town,” says Dominic Carter, 27, “but far enough to be removed from the fray.”
Joe French, another city professional, agrees: “I want to be near to most nightlife, yet not kept awake every weekend by noise. Other things? Security, the safety of the area, and how close it is to an Aldi or Lidl.”
Again, Enigma satisfies these urges. It wraps residents in a gated community that’s on the very cusp of Manchester’s headline leisure facilities. Deansgate and Spinningfields are half a mile away, whilst the Northern Quarter stands to the east for casual dining and alternative music events. Manchester property investment has the best of many pursuits at its feet.
With such a dynamic skyline, it’s no wonder that the city is a prized sight for residents who want to live here.
It affects Lucinda Jukes’ decision. “Really, an apartment must have a balcony, roof garden or green space. Coming back from a hard day, it’s super relaxing to just watch the world go by. You can’t beat a nice vista!”
She may be glad to know that Enigma has been designed with a communal roof garden, but also private terraces for the individual. There’s a mix of personal and collective viewpoints for people like her, who really appreciate their urban backdrop.
Equally, there must be some concessions for amenities and on-site support. The jump in build to rent projects across the UK means renters are more discerning about their building’s interior provisions. Whether it’s quality repairs or a recreational space, Manchester property investment is aiming for some of the highest standards in this regard.
As Gareth Lloyd, 27, explains: “A concierge sways me. Knowing there’s a fix around the corner is a great attribute, and makes the flat so much more reliable. It calms you down so much on that first day when you move in, and provides peace of mind far beyond that.”
He likes operational efficiency as well. “Lifts must be reliable for upper floor apartments. I also love to have an inclusive utility package so I don’t have to sort through bills and energy providers.”
Having a round-the-clock concierge on hand keeps tenants happy. It’s another piece of Enigma – all of our residents get the 24-hour care they may want, with just a short visit to the lobby for a repair or an answer to a query.
Manchester is booming. The residential market is forecast for 30% capital growth by 2022. So what’s stopping you from a prime, rewarding investment in Manchester property?
Alliance Investments, 21/Floor, The Centrium
60 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong