Growing population in Manchester creates need for more homes

11th February 2019

Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool have all seen significant housing supply shortfalls in the face of an increase in demand from people wishing to live in the core city centres. And as result of political headwinds, the growth story may be somewhat stifled.

However, looking forward, the prospects for the major urban markets within Northern England are positive. As a recent report from JLL shows, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool to all see price and rental growth over the next five years to be above the UK average.

In recent years Manchester City Centre has established itself as the most significant residential market in the UK with more than £1.6bn invested over the past 24 months in new purpose built private rental developments in the city centre, mainly on a forward funding basis.

A total of c. 5,600 purpose built private rental units are now under construction making Manchester by far the largest multifamily rental market outside London. While the sheer weight of residential development is impressive the growing importance of the city centre in meeting Greater Manchester’s overall housing need cannot be understated. The new Greater Manchester Spatial Framework – the region’s first ever blueprint for long term development – stipulates that brownfield sites in the city centre should provide for 50,000 new apartments over the next 20 years, a quarter of all projected housing need across the metropolitan county. Given that around 25% of the current 30,000-unit city centre pipeline is yet to get planning permission, supply is on course to meet demand for the first decade of the 20 year GMSF plan.

In the more immediate term Manchester has seen some significant economic wins which have boosted demand for city centre housing. In 2018, a total of 500,000 sq ft of office space was let in three standout deals to Amazon, Booking.com and HMRC.

JLL estimates that currently up to 3,000 units are needed per year for a growing city centre population expected to rise from 55,000 currently to 100,000 by 2026. And given that delivery in the last five years has averaged less than 1,000 new units per annum, a ramp up in supply is long overdue.

House price and rental growth in 2018 was more in line with the rest of the country following considerable growth in recent years. The price of a two bedroom city centre apartment increased by 2% and with supply becoming more closely aligned to demand, JLL expects price growth of 3% pa over the next five years compared with a national average of 2.2% pa. Rental growth in Manchester is forecast to average 3.1% pa compared with 2.4% pa across the UK.

Source: JLL Residential Forecast Northern England 2019

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