It’s a little known fact, especially among foreigners, that Manchester, and not London, is the UK’s Most Liveable City—a common oversight, as London’s fame as a global financial and cultural hub often overshadows the Northern city.
Still, Manchester has been the UK’s rising star in liveability, affordability and overall quality of life for a decade now, overtaking London, Birmingham and Liverpool to claim the UK’s top spot in The Economist’s ‘Global Liveability Index since 2011.
Read on to know what to look out for when investing in property for steady capital growth.
Manchester has been ranked The Economist’s Most Liveable City in the UK for 11 consecutive years (even through the pandemic!), maintaining its position within the ranking’s top tier, globally, since 2011. Manchester was also named the 3rd Best City in the World in Time Out’s most recent rankings in 2021—a good 10 places ahead of London!
Indeed, this unassuming city has been the heartbeat of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse, and the growth of its population is testament to its liveability. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows Manchester’s appeal as a place to live and work had grown tremendously, charting an estimated population growth rate of 31% from 2001 to 2021, making it the fastest-growing city in the UK. This is 2 times faster than the growth of Birmingham, a city that is 2 times larger!
Manchester’s strong economic performance over the years has earned it a position as Europe’s top 5 cities for business and investment. In fact, almost half of the Northwest’s top 500 businesses are based in Manchester, which is also home to over 2000 international companies including Google, Amazon, Kellogg’s, Siemens and Adidas, among others.
The economy is expected to grow by an impressive 22% over the next 5 years from the pandemic-induced recession in 2020, backed by steady employment growth; making Manchester one of the fastest-growing economies in the UK.
Urban Renewal & Regeneration Drives Manchester’s Success
A growing population is not sustainable without adequate infrastructure and housing, which is why regeneration and urban renewal is critical to ensure a balance and liveability.
The appeal of Manchester’s quality of life and its growing population is supported by urban renewal works around the city. Urban renewal or regeneration is critical in creating liveable spaces to support an increasing workforce, especially in a city where housing is already at an undersupply.
Several sites have been earmarked for regeneration in Manchester, including Great Ducie Street, ID Manchester, Mayfield and Central Retail Park which, combined, will create 8.7m sqft of commercial space and over 40,000 jobs. In addition to employment opportunities, Mancunians can look forward to more green spaces, infrastructure, proper housing and overall sustainability and liveability.
North England’s biggest urban regeneration project to date—Victoria North—is in Manchester, and will benefit the city in a huge way. A £4 billion investment over 20 years, the project is a joint venture programme between the Manchester City Council and developer Far East Consortium (FEC), and will integrate fully with existing bus and rail networks including the upcoming HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Spanning approximately 155 hectares, Victoria North consists of 7 neighbourhoods: Red Bank, Collyhurst Village, South Collyhurst, New Cross, New Town, Vauxhall Gardens and Smedley Dip & Eggington Street. The project will deliver over 15,000 new homes with each neighbourhood connected by high quality green spaces and a 46-hectare City River Park—Manchester’s largest city centre green space—which will showcase the Irk River Valley for the first time in decades.
Work has already started on Victoria North with its first development already commencing: Victoria Riverside. This residential-led project is located within the up-and-coming Red Bank neighbourhood, with submitted plans including the repurposing of brownfield land for the construction of new homes and the City River Park. The plans also covers land remediation, earthworks and change in site levels to begin the major investment of new green spaces on the banks of the River Irk, as well as approval for the building of initial transport and streets infrastructure and new drainage.
Excellent Capital Growth Expected from Urban Renewal & Regeneration
The Red Bank neighbourhood, being the first phase of the Victoria North regeneration, is therefore an excellent investment opportunity for capital and rental growth. Located within the Green Quarter and just a 10- to 15-minute walk from the high street, music venues and eclectic eateries of the Northern Quarter, the Red Bank neighbourhood also has excellent transport links. This is a great draw for young professionals as there is direct access to Salford Quays and the MediaCityUK, while remaining close to the Manchester city centre.
Some 600 high quality homes including 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, townhouses and maisonettes will be built within the Victoria Riverside development at Red Bank. Victoria Riverside is set next to the River Irk and will be built around impressive public spaces, including communal gardens with powered, outdoor work areas. Set for completion in 2024, the development will also include commercial space for shops, cafes, and bars along Dantzic Street.
With an estimated 200,000 people set to move into the Greater Manchester region over the next 15 years, the Victoria North regeneration is exceedingly critical to the growth and economic success of Manchester. It will account for over 30% of the city’s workforce growth, including an estimated 6,900 jobs during construction, and is expected to contribute an estimated £1.2 billion to the local economy by 2039.
New jobs created through regeneration will draw in a greater population, which will drive demand for homes. The undersupply of homes will continue to underpin house price growth in the city.
The Manchester property market has seen tremendous growth over the past 20 years. Between mid-2001 and mid-2021, property values have grown over 300%. Wise investors will take advantage of the price of the upcoming developments in Victoria North and enjoy capital growth over the next 20 years as property prices increase.
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By Vivienne Pal