Manchester is a bustling, modern city with a lot going for it. With low property prices and a prosperous local economy and wide range of industries, the city is incredibly attractive to residents and investors. Here’s why we think you should consider England’s second city for your property investment.
Cultural and Sporting Magnet
Manchester has given us an enormous amount of great music. Take That, one of the world’s most famous boy bands, hails from the city, as do the likes of M People and, further back, The Hollies. But the region’s greatest musical contribution comes from the large number of indie, rock bands. From The Smiths, Joy Division and Happy Mondays to Oasis, The Charlatans and The Stone Roses, Manchester has brought us some of the UK’s biggest rock acts.
These high-profile music stars are matched by the superstar footballers that call the city home. This is thanks to the presence of Premiership powerhouses Manchester United and Manchester City. Between them, these two teams have accumulated 15 Premier Leagues titles (13 of which were won by Manchester United) and 17 FA Cups (again, 12 of those belong to Man Utd), as well as numerous European competition wins.
But it’s not all about football. The city has hosted just about every major sporting event going. From the Commonwealth Games in 2002 to the Champions League Final in 2003, the Ashes series and the Rugby League World Cup in 2013 to the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
If Museums and galleries are more your scene, you’re spoilt for choice in Manchester. Expand your mind at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, explore history at the Imperial War Museum North, view some of the countries’ best natural history collections at the Manchester Museum, or marvel at the stunning artwork found at the Whitworth Art Gallery, The Lowry and the Manchester Art Gallery.
Then there’s HOME. This purpose-built cultural centre brings together some of the best in international contemporary art, theatre, film and books. And of course, for a city that boasts such a strong sporting history, the National Football Museum can be found in Manchester.
With culture running so thoroughly through its veins, it’s no surprise that the city has become a hub for media and creative companies.
Creative Media Capital
With no other city in Europe investing as much in the digital, media and creative industries, it’s clear they are a big, important part of this thoroughly modern city. £3.5 billion has been spent creating a global hub for creative industries. In fact, Manchester has become the second largest centre of creative and digital industries in Europe!
Television broadcasting is a big contributor to this reputation. MediaCityUK in Salford is a newly developed 200-acre site that is home to the BBC, ITV and the University of Salford’s media, creative and digital campus. It is the largest purpose-built media location in Europe, with more than 80 creative and digital companies making up the tenants of the development. Of such size and importance, MediaCityUK even has its own tram stop!
Over the years, the reputation of television programmes has also grown. Amongst its most notable exports are Coronation Street (filmed at ITV’s MediaCityUK studio), the world’s longest running serial soap drama. Manchester also boasts the highest number of local radio stations outside London.
The city’s thriving digital scene is made up of a combination of long-standing, successful agencies and hungry young start-ups. This gives the city’s 7,200 creative and media students plenty of employment options. Manchester is the only place outside of London to have an international internet exchange and is designated as a ‘super-connected city’ for its next generation broadband. Companies including Cisco, Oracle and EMC (all of whom have bases in Manchester) are driving innovation in cloud computing.
These prosperous, leading-edge industries make up just some of the factors contributing to the region’s flourishing economy.
Massive, Growing Economy
Manchester has certainly come a long way from its roots as the world’s first industrialised city. With an influx of investment, regeneration and the development of enterprise zones has seen it grow to become the third largest metropolitan economy in the UK. Manchester generates a whopping gross value added (GVA) of £56 billion!
Part of the Northern Powerhouse, Manchester has firmly established itself now as England’s second city, and this is borne out by the numerous economic areas where it sits just behind London in the rankings. The city has built up the largest UK office market outside the capital. With a quarterly office uptake of approximately 250,000 square ft (averaged over 2010-2014), Manchester has an uptake that is equivalent to that of Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds combined.
With so many large and prominent companies based in the city, it’s hardly surprising. The UK head offices of Adidas, The Co-Operative Group, Gazprom, Kelloggs, Laterooms.com and Thomas Cook can be found in the city. Japanese printer firm Brother has based their European headquarters in Manchester. Northshoring – the practice of moving or opening an office in Northern England to avoid some of the expense of London and the south – accounts for companies such as Google, BBC, Siemens, Barclays, AstraZeneca, Guardian Media Group, RBS, Network Rail having offices in the city.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of industries represented in the region. These include media, digital and creative financial, legal and business services, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, environmental technologies and real estate. Tourism is another big industry for the city, with Manchester being the second-most visited city in England, behind London. It is also second to London in the number of multi-millionaires who call the region home.
Manchester is also a hub for bright young people. Students flock to the city to attend two of the country’s top universities, Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music. Their combined intakes have produced a student population of over 75,000 in the city. Their campuses form Europe’s largest urban higher education precinct, with all three being based around Oxford Road, on the southern side of the city centre.
These students are attracted to the city because of its unique combination of culture, nightlife, sport and fantastic job prospects, as well as providing a lower cost of living than in London and much of the South of England. This can be seen particularly in the affordable house prices you’ll find in Manchester.
High Liveability, Affordable Housing
With ample employment opportunities offering competitive salaries and a low cost of living, Manchester is an enticing prospect. This combines with a good level of personal disposable income and plenty of cultural and entertainment options, making the city one of the world’s 50 most liveable cities in 2014, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. In fact, Manchester came ahead of London, New York and Rome!
There’s a buzz about Manchester. And whether you want to be surrounded by the urban chic of the city or the beautiful rurality of the nearby Pennines and Peak district, there’s something for everyone.
And if you want to see all this for yourself, you’ll find Manchester an easy place to travel to.
The region can easily be reached by road, with motorways including the M56, M60, M61, M62, M66 and M67, providing access from all areas of the country. The city has two major mainline railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria. Routes into these stations take passengers all across the North, and direct to destinations including Glasgow, Southampton, Birmingham and London.
These services will be improved further with the creation of HS2 – the high speed trainline will call at Manchester Piccadilly, reducing journey times between London and Manchester from just over 2 hours to 1h:08m. There are also a variety of intercity services, complemented by the city’s tramline.
If you’re coming from outside the UK, Manchester Airport has you covered. The UK’s third biggest airport offers international flights around the globe and is one of only 17 airports in the world to operate the Airbus A380 flights – the only other UK airport that does is London Heathrow.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the canal. A major source of goods during the industrial revolution, the canal still provides an important part of Manchester’s infrastructure today. Though they are now more often used for leisure purposes, plans have been approved to introduce a water taxi service between MediaCityUK at Salford Quays and Manchester city centre.
You would think such a great place to live would come at a high price. But when it comes to Manchester, housing prices are surprisingly fairly low. Whilst the national average house price for the country is now over £211,000, prices in Manchester and Salford remain well below that. And this is despite the significant price rises they have seen recently, offering a good amount of capital growth to both prospective homeowners and investors alike.
Want to learn more about the other types of investments available in Manchester then why not check out our Guide to Investing in Student Property in Manchester. Alternatively, if you already know what you are looking for then why not jump straight to our available property investments in Manchester.