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Diversity will be key to Manchester’s booming residential property market, says panel of experts

26 Nov 2016

Manchester needs to continue to focus on diversity and stability if it is to safeguard the future of its growing residential property market, said a panel of experts at a breakfast seminar hosted by Manchester commercial law firm Kuits.

An audience of around 50 delegates heard from panellists Tony Hardy, Head of Residential Conveyancing for Kuits, Simon Mackay, Residential Director for JLL, Stephen Beech, CEO of Beech Holdings, and Greg Ward, Senior Wealth Management Consultant for Mattioli Woods.

Martyn Kendrick, Lloyds Bank’s Regional Director for SME Banking in the North West, chaired the discussion, which was entitled The Future of the Manchester Residential Property Market and took place at Kuits city centre offices.

Their discussion focused on what is making Manchester an attractive prospect for investors, the extent of the demand-supply gap, and where investment is coming from and the wider impact this is having on the city, as well as the challenges they foresee for the future.

Population growth, commercial developments such as Airport City, and the retention of graduates from Manchester’s world-class universities were all identified as key factors driving the demand for housing, particularly in the city centre.

Stephen Beech also spoke of the knock-on effect of “companies heading north to take advantage of more favourable affordability scores and lower cost-of-living”, which is further propelling the market forward. He indicated that demand for his city centre apartments was currently “seventy-times” that of supply.

Tony Hardy went on to tell the audience about the “reverse trends” he is seeing in the market compared to ten years ago, with “wealthy individuals now choosing city-centre lifestyles, rather than opting to live in the suburbs”, and that this is compelling some developers to build “larger, higher-spec apartments”.

Simon Mackay echoed this sentiment and went on further to talk about how diversity within the market, with each developer having its own model and funding, is making Manchester a very attractive location for investors, including those from China and the Middle East.

Greg Ward suggested that legislative changes have encouraged developers to take advantage of permitted development rights, and that positive wage growth, supported by a growing young dynamic population and a gap in housing supply, provides “the right basis for investor confidence”.

The panel indicated that they had seen little to no effect on the Manchester residential market since the vote for Brexit, and that concerns it had caused a slowdown of investment in London were unjustified, as there were signs the market here was overheating long before the vote.

The panel agreed that increasing building costs and retaining market stability would be Manchester’s greatest challenges moving forward, but that maintaining a good reputation with investors, particularly when it comes to quality and transparency, would also be important. There were also suggestions that Manchester needs to look beyond the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and that encouraging greater international trade, tourism and infrastructure will be critical to it becoming a truly international city.

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