Will Manchester Become The ‘New London’?

media city manchester

Manchester used to be well known for urban decay, high unemployment and bleak city streets offering little hope for its inhabitants.

This was the case as recently as the 1980s and early 1990s. Much has changed since then with the arrival of investment on a massive scale, the commercial growth of two football clubs and the arrival of the BBC.

As a result Manchester is now among the leading cities in the UK for young urbanites looking for jobs in media and creative industries. The new high tech economy is mushrooming with businesses reliant branding marketing and other media related services. If there is a new revolution comparable to the industrial revolution, then Manchester is one of the city’s at the forefront.

So it follows that Manchester is a city that is now attracting young property buyers and renters. Its population has risen 19% in the last ten years according to the last census and this trend is set to continue with greater autonomy promised for Northern regions and the extra investment this is likely to attract.

Property prices are rising, with Salford in Manchester one of the fastest growing local markets in the UK in 2014 such was demand for property close to its media city.

The only problem for most young property buyers now is the availability of mortgages and supply of property. Manchester is currently on the radar of property speculators and has all the hallmarks of a market that will soon be inflated to the point where young urbanites will find themselves in a similar situation to those in London.

While it was once the case that people commuted into the cities to work, many prefer to stay long term for the convenience of walking to work or taking a short ride on public transport. Buying a property in the most sought after areas of the city is difficult for young people on average salaries looking to climb the career ladder. These people are increasingly renting long term which can only result in making it harder to own property in the future.

It’s often cheaper and more desirable to rent a luxury property in the city than find the equivalent of a year’s salary to put down as a deposit to purchase a house or apartment. Richard Jenkings, senior consultant at Experian Marketing Services said, “With money harder to borrow, larger deposits required, a lack of affordable housing and the impact of the economic downturn, one of the biggest changes we have seen is a strong growth in the number of people renting.”

The drive for regional independence may well be a good thing for young urbanites in the short term. Manchester offers plenty of opportunities for people to build careers in the media and earn competitive salaries. The North South divide may soon be reduced as a result but if there is one lesson to be learned from London, the more successful a city becomes the more property prices will rise out of reach of younger people who want to live and work in the city.

Posted on: May 29, 2015

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Scott Neal

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