Inward migration, construction, job creation and local economies are taking strides towards rebalancing the huge wealth gap between themselves and the capital city. Leading the charge as part of the Northern Powerhouse project is Manchester.
Manchester has long been seen as the capital of the North of England, hosting the largest regional economy and the best transport links to the rest of Britain and the world through roads, rail and air. With the city now well underway with its Airport City project, which aims to massively expand its air travel capacity and connect it with Asia and the Middle East, the city is becoming truly international and is the focal point of the North.
Many are seeing Manchester as the entry point to other booming cities such as Leeds, Liverpool, and Newcastle as local governments and regional mayors look to funnel funding towards transport infrastructure by replacing aging road and rail networks.
Bafflingly, a train from Manchester to London via Virgin Trains can deliver you into London in just over two hours, whilst a train to Leeds still takes an hour. London to Manchester is 208 miles whilst Leeds is just 43 – how can it be justified that there is such a disparity between the two when the distance is just a quarter that of the London route?
With the HS2 project edging closer and closer, many are hoping this will help interconnect Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle in a way not possible before. Trains from Manchester to Sheffield are still running on diesel stock from the 1980s.
With that in mind, Manchester property was recently reported to be some of the most profitable in the country, with yields outstripping those in the capital. The Financial Times has this week reported that Manchester is rapidly closing the buy-to-let (BTL) gap with London following on from tax and legal changes last year.
The data from the FT shows that landlord investment has more than halved since April 2016. In the first three months of the year London saw just 1,126 BTL mortgage purchased by landlords, compared with the quarterly average of 2,500 in both 2014 and 2015.
In comparison to this, Manchester had 840 mortgaged BTL purchases in the same period, down only slightly from the 1,000 average in 2014 and 2015. The sales and marketing director of One Savings Bank, John Eastgate, was quoted in the FT saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if Manchester moved ahead of London because in the short term there is still going to be negative sentiment around London.”
Further to this, Manchester is now undergoing a building boom with a record 6,900 properties under construction at the moment with off-plan property also booming in the city too.
So what’s happening in Manchester? Well the student population is growing quickly, making the city a hotspot for graduate recruitment. The BBC and MediaCityUK on Salford Quays are also driving a boom in media industry job growth whilst the tech sector is also seeing rapid growth.
Due to its international connections, its convenient location and the booming economy, Manchester is quickly becoming the most exciting city in the UK. In a post-Brexit world, confidence is an extremely valuable commodity and this city seems to have it in spades.