Manchester Sets the Pace for Business and Property Investment

From the industrial revolution, to the pioneering music scene of the 1980s and 90s, Manchester has always been defined by hard work, innovation and creativity. The city is currently riding the crest of a wave; its buy to let market was recently ranked by specialist mortgage provider Lendinvest in the top 10 nationwide, while Manchester’s stock as a business destination is at an all-time high. EY’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey revealed that the region attracted 90 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2016 – 60% of which were first-time investments from global investors.

Manchester Aerial View

Manchester is also one of the UK’s leading centres for startup businesses and digital innovation. According to Tech Nation, in 2016, Manchester made the top 20 of the European Digital City Index for “starting and scaling a digital tech business”. Two new accelerators, Wayra and Ignite, were launched, while Manchester City Council awarded two £2 million grants for the creation of two new technology hubs. Tech Nation also lists 62,653 digital jobs with £2.9 billion in digital tech turnover.

On the horizon, the £235 million Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation is planned to open in 2019, and £10 million in government funding is being channelled into the CityVerve project to test IoT technology.

Manchester’s property investment market is benefitting from its thriving media and digital scene, as well as a drop in investment activity in London. The rise in Stamp Duty charges in April 2016 has hit London hardest, where prices are already at a premium. Although transactions in the UK housing market slowed post-April 2016, only London saw prices fall, RICS said in 2016 analysis. Assumptions that the drop in the pound’s value in the aftermath of Brexit would encourage investment activity in the capital have not materialised either. Last month, the ‘Financial Times’ ran with the headline “London buy to let investors look north to Manchester”.

Manchester is currently witnessing a building boom. Deloitte’s annual Crane Survey reported in January that construction of residential units in the city are at their highest number since the recession of 2008. At the time of the survey, 6,963 residential units were under construction, compared with 2,982 a year earlier.

Retaining talent from Manchester’s world-class academic network is playing a big part in Manchester’s thriving property market. Simon Bedford, partner and head of Deloitte Real Estate in the North West told Manchester Evening News: “For the first time, Manchester can expect to import more graduates than it exports this year, continuing its positive trajectory of talent retention and helping to grow the city-living market.”

According to the 2016-17 QS World University Rankings, Manchester is second only to Edinburgh and London as the UK’s most popular university destination. It ranked the city joint-23rd in the world with Barcelona, and most impressive of all, the University of Manchester 29th worldwide.

Key locations

Beyond the city centre, Manchester’s economic growth is powered primarily by Salford and Trafford.

As one of the UK’s most exciting regeneration areas, Salford attracts continual interest from property investors with its wide range of residential and commercial opportunities. In a recent study by DueDil, Salford outranked London as a destination for new startup businesses. Following long periods of post-industrial decline, Salford is re-establishing itself as a focal point for UK business. A new generation of professionals are keen to capitalise, and are seeking high-quality residential property in the area.

With over 11,000 businesses and boasting the highest productivity per head in Greater Manchester, Trafford is one of the North West’s most economically competitive areas.

Trafford’s melting-pot of business and industry ranges from manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, to national media outlets, and a growing cluster of digital enterprises.

Like Salford, demand for luxury residential property is high from professionals enjoying Manchester’s new era of prosperity.

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