Since these proposals were put forward, the North West of England has experienced a surge in business growth, particularly in Greater Manchester. More professional services jobs have been created in the North West than in Greater London in the last 12 months. With 57,000 jobs created in Central Manchester since 2011, this growth has been the continuation of a trend of business development which puts the city leagues ahead of its Northern counterparts. According to Savills, this is more than double the growth rate of the rest of the UK and the North West as a whole.
Naturally, this business growth has implications for the property market, which is increasingly being driven by prime properties in urban locations. Knight Frank’s latest research confirmed once again that, in terms of property, one of the main selling factors for urban professionals is the demand for effective transport links. In fact, the proximity of effective transport links has a direct impact on the sale of residential property. Manchester is no exception to this rule. Data from JMW Solicitors LLP revealed that between 2013 and 2015, house sales in the suburbs of Greater Manchester soared due to Metrolink developments. This trend led to what the Manchester Evening News termed ‘The Metrolink Effect.’ Residential properties located within a 500m walking radius of a tram stop are now worth around £8,300 more, as buyers are willing to fork out 4.6% more on conveniently located properties.
Indeed, the importance of transport for business and development has already been recognised by the Chancellor. One of the ways in which he intends to build up the Northern Powerhouse is to improve transport links between the major cities and towns in the north. Osborne envisages greater ease of commute between northern locations so that they may all perform as one major economy, rather than competing against one another.
However, transport development is not the only major change that needs to take place to enable the creation of the Northern Powerhouse; investment in housing is also imperative. As Greater Manchester business expands, one of the main property challenges to be faced during this period of growth is the issue of supply and demand. According to Savills’ December 2015 ‘Spotlight on the Future of Manchester’ report, the city needs to build at least 100,000 new homes over the next decade to meet rising demand. With increasing numbers of professionals relocating to northern business hubs such as MediaCityUK in Salford, this is evidently an exciting time to invest in properties in the North West and particularly in Greater Manchester.