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News Release


Geography of Manchester city centre set to expand over the next decade

Outwards and upwards for Manchester says JLL's head of North West, David Lathwood

“Manchester’s development has reached a critical point and the work done over the past 10 years to improve the city centre has paved the way for large volumes of sizable schemes in the years to come.

“The city does well in part because it continues to attract students, a large proportion of which stay here as graduates. In addition many of those from universities around the North West region opt for Manchester rather than London after graduating, lured by the volume of diverse jobs now available in the city.

“This strengthening labour pool is neatly playing into the ‘northshoring’ phenomenon, which is seeing more large firms looking to Manchester as an alternative to the capital and South East, given the efficiencies achievable coupled with the availability of talented graduates.  

“This buoyant occupier market is present in many cities and is symptomatic of the global urbanisation we are seeing, with more people flocking to city centres in search of jobs and cultural amenities. Manchester is doing particularly well and when you look at this from an inward investment perspective it becomes even more apparent: property investment volumes in Greater Manchester reached £1.7 billion in 2014, the highest on record. Moreover, this figure is almost three times the annual level of £600 million in Lyon – the French city lauded as a business-friendly destination.

“Manchester is now viewed as the natural destination for UK investment outside of London. Infrastructure projects like HS3, the proposed high-speed connection between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, are essential to capitalise on the wider Northern Powerhouse concept, with easier travel between the three key. In addition, continued increases in the number of routes from Manchester Airport into strategic international markets in the US, UAE and Asia will help bolster the city’s presence internationally.

“The city is also in need of a significant uplift the number of new homes. With Manchester’s population expected to grow by 125,000 to 2.87 million in the next 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics, the city needs to be delivering an additional 9,000 homes every year for the next five years, according to our research, to meet this demand.

“Because of this, in the next decade we will undoubtedly see the geography of Manchester’s city centre expand – both outwards and upwards. Fringe areas that currently border the city centre, including Salford Quays, Great Ancoats Street and Oxford Road, will be absorbed into what is considered the heart of the city.

“Manchester has a relatively compact city centre zone compared with international peers and as this expands to include well-established fringe areas, what is considered to be the ‘city centre’ will grow rapidly as these become enveloped in its development.

“Naturally, the city’s rate of development is tied to global economics – as it has always been. Yet Manchester has carved out a solid position for itself among regional cities over the past 10 years.

“It is now primed to continue to attract high levels of inward investment and development activity. These are essential to ensure that Manchester can build upon the past decade and fulfil its new role at the centre of the Northern Powerhouse.