The North West has swiftly become a hotspot for property investors. While London used to be the Holy Grail, a combination of high price tags and slower capital growth means investors are looking elsewhere for deals. Manchester, in particular, is a favourite city among investors these days, which has caused a ripple effect throughout the entire Greater Manchester area.
There’s always a property of intrigue to be found in the region, but why exactly are investors looking outside of the city centre, and which areas are seeing the most investment? As Strawberry Forge are property marketing experts based in the city, we decided to do a little digging to find out why Greater Manchester has boomed.
But first, let’s establish why the city of Manchester has grown so much in recent years.
The Rise of Manchester
Manchester has a lot going for it, so there’s no wonder why investors are drawn towards the city. Here are just a few of the main headlines you need to know:
- 85% of FTSE 100 businesses have a presence in Manchester
- The city has an economy valued at £62.8 billion — the largest in the UK outside of London
- Global recognition — everyone has heard of Manchester United and Manchester City. Mega bands such as Oasis and The Stone Roses also hail from the region
- A student population of over 100,000 plus a retention rate of 70%
And there’s no slowing Manchester down. It’s a city that continues to improve and looks towards the future. The construction of the HS2 railway will finally bridge the gap between the North and South of the country with Manchester set to benefit from increased connectivity, a widespread talent pool, local regeneration projects and more jobs available.
The average Brit will also find a much higher quality of life in Manchester when compared to other major cities such as London. Generally speaking, properties come at lower costs and aren’t the size of postage stamps.
Interestingly, research shows that the cost of living in Manchester is cheaper than 49% of the cities in Western Europe, which is staggering when you consider it’s a major metropolitan city that rivals country capitals such as:
If you weren’t looking towards Manchester before, you probably are now. But this blog isn’t about the city itself; it’s about the entire Greater Manchester area.
Before you start looking for investment opportunities, let’s take a look at why the wider region is worth investigating first.
The Appeal of Greater Manchester
Being a Salford Lad born and bred, I can tell you there’s a lot more to the region than the M1 postcode. Greater Manchester is made up of 10 boroughs and spans 493 square miles, centred around the UK’s largest city economy outside of London.
There are plenty of reasons to invest in Manchester, but the wider area has so much to offer as well. Before settling on one location, it pays to take your time and conduct thorough research. The other boroughs in the region are attracting investors for key reasons such as:
An Accessible Market
There’s a misconception in property that only the wealthiest individuals can afford to invest. The market is widespread, and Greater Manchester has thousands of properties for sale that would make a sound investment even if investors only have a small amount of capital to work with.
In towns such as Swinton (which is only a 20-minute drive away from Manchester City Centre), a well-presented flat costs between £70,000 and £90,000, and can easily bring in a yield of 6–7%.
For a high-spec apartment in Ancoats, a purchase price of £400,000 isn’t out of the ordinary, and that’s with us being conservative. To own a property like that, investors will need a significant deposit of at least 10%, plus high-end furnishings to attract the type of resident who would want to live in the area.
Greater Manchester can offer what Manchester itself can’t; wide-spread affordability. It’s a place where novice investors can learn to walk before they can run, a place to build a decent portfolio before moving into more expensive investments.
An Easy Commute
As mentioned above, Manchester City Centre isn’t far away from many of the towns in the other boroughs across the region. Anyone who lives outside of Manchester doesn’t have too far to travel if they want to go shopping or if they work in areas such as Deansgate (something I can personally vouch for).
Greater Manchester is also one of the most well-connected regions not just in the UK — but the world. It doesn’t matter if residents live in Wigan, Stockport, Trafford, Bolton or any of the other boroughs, the centre is always accessible. Trams, trains and buses run regularly into Manchester, and easy access to the motorway and newly developed cycle paths mean residents can choose any type of transport they prefer to reach the city centre.
This is highly appealing to a wider range of people, as many will be looking for a combination of affordability and easy access to the city. Lower rental fees in Greater Manchester means they can have a high quality of life while still being on the doorstep of the city.
Variety of Properties
While busy city centres tend to build upwards to create more properties on one plot of land, quieter outskirt areas have more elbow room to play with.
Not everyone wants to invest in a metropolitan apartment; they don’t appeal to certain demographics such as families. This is what makes Greater Manchester an excellent place to invest. You can find a variety of properties such as:
- Traditional homes
And of course, there are still plenty of apartment buildings in Greater Manchester, too. By looking at the region instead of just the city, investors can find a range of properties that are more suitable for mass markets.
Greater Manchester is experiencing rapid regeneration, which is doing wonders for the region. Salford has seen a significant boost in the last decade partly thanks to BBC and ITV setting up their studios in the city. Close proximity to Manchester and the growing popularity of the University of Salford also makes the city a student hotspot, particularly with those studying Media.
Not wanting to be left behind, there are huge plans in place to revamp Bolton, which is estimated to bring in more than £1 billion in new investments. Trafford is also on track for major development works, with plans to redevelop a 120-acre site complete with:
- 750 homes
- 100-bed hotel
- A new leisure centre
- Office space
- A new primary school
- Plus improved pedestrian and cycle routes
What Does All This Mean for the Region & Investors?
Greater Manchester is seeing growth on a huge scale with almost every borough looking to make vast changes; the City Centre is no longer the only focal point, and research could lead investors into a purchase with huge potential.
Property prices are still relatively low cost when compared to Manchester alone, which means investors can benefit in two main ways:
- Excellent rental yields
- Capital growth
And as more investors show an interest in the region, the more scope there is continuous improvement.
Many members of the Strawberry Forge team have lived in Greater Manchester for years — some of us have lived here for all our lives — and the changes we’ve seen are staggering. It’s an area that definitely deserves more attention than it currently receives, but we have an inkling that plenty of eyes will fall on the region very, very soon.
This article was written by Simon Carter. Simon is a Content Executive at Strawberry Forge, a Manchester-based digital marketing agency that specialises in providing content centred around Property.
Affectionately nicknamed “Sharkey” by the Strawberry Forge team, Simon can easily turn his hand to topics such as BTR, PBSA, interior design, overseas property investments and mortgages to name just a few.
Are you a thought leader like Simon? Do you have some insight you can give? Get in touch with us today!
Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in.