The Northern Powerhouse is ready and open for business
The wide consensus of opinion among informed, published property commentators is that, from an investment perspective, Manchester now represents the kind of opportunity that for several decades, (until recently) could only be found in London.
As London's residential investment property prices have peaked (and are even contracting in some areas) it is Manchester that is taking on the ‘hot spot’ mantle. The smart money is moving to Manchester.
Manchester's inner city buy-to-let sector is seeing capital growth with very healthy demand, against a backdrop of high and increasing rental yields. As a result, new residential property is under construction in the centre on a huge scale. Inner city residential ‘villages’ have become very successful and massive investment is already in progress, as a glance at the city skyline attests.
Manchester has seen hundreds of millions of pounds worth of regeneration investment and is now the centre of the Government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative. This is an attempt to bring the economic health of the UK’s major Northern regions more into line with the capital. Too much emphasis has fallen on the economic development of London and the South East over recent decades. Market forces are driving both public and private action to address this imbalance.
This imbalance has created a new window for investors, with major differentials in the prices of comparable properties in the north and south. Significant numbers of aspirational people who can no longer afford to live in London are relocating to Manchester. The relocation of significant parts of the BBC, Google and Amazon to the area reflects this trend.
It has been confirmed that the £40 billion HS2 (super high speed national rail links) initiative will reduce journey times between central Manchester and London to around 1 hour 20 minutes, within four years. This has further accelerated the entire economic outlook for the region. It will relieve the over-burdened Northern transport infrastructure and create huge new opportunities for investors.
Just 9 miles south of the development, the UK's second-ranking Manchester International Airport is undergoing massive development to become Airport City, at a cost of £800 million. It is being transformed to add a new international industrial and service hub for the digital age, with cavernous storage and warehousing facilities, acres of offices, a science park, new hotels and extended facilities to double capacity from the current 50 million-passengers per- year level.