Manchester witnesses resi construction boom

Residential units under construction in Manchester city centre have increased by 400% over the past two years, according to new research seen by Property Week.

The number of units being built increased from 986 across 12 sites at the end of March 2015 to 4,954 across 28 sites at the end of March this year.

The figures were collected by Manchester Place, the inward investment agency set up by Manchester City Council and the government’s Homes and Communities Agency.

Paul Beardmore, the chief executive of Manchester Place, said private rental sector apartments dominated, but flats for sale were in the mix too.

Beardmore said he was confident that the development boom would not result in an oversupply of housing. The figures represented a return to the city’s 2006 peak, he said, but occupier and investor appetite would be even higher now due to the “pent-up demand” caused by low levels of construction in recent years.

“The work we have done on population growth in the city shows that the demand is absolutely there,” Beardmore said. “All of our agents are giving us the same message: they can’t get their hands on new apartments quickly enough.” Investors from the Far East were “still very active” in the city centre market, he added.

Population growth

The city centre population stands at just under 54,000 and is expected to grow on average by 5.5% a year to exceed 80,000 by 2024. The current void rate is 0.4%.

High-profile schemes in the pipeline include the Far East Consortium’s 756-unit development at Angel Meadow, which includes a 41-storey skyscraper, and Property Alliance Group’s 357-unit Oxygen tower, which will start on site this week.

Outside the city centre it was a different story. Units on site slipped from 2,131 at the end of March 2015 to 2,079 at the end of March 2017. However, completions rose by 65% from 667 in the year to the end of March 2015 to 1,100 over the past year, in contrast to the city centre where they decreased 19% to 554.

Next year, though, the spike in construction will begin to translate into city centre completions, which Manchester Place predicts will rocket by more than 220% by the end of March 2018.

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