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An investment guide to invest in Manchester

Manchester is located in the north-west of England which has an exceptional rail connectivity to the rest of UK, an international airport serving 200 destinations worldwide, home to one of UK’s top universities and Trafford Centre the largest shopping complex in Europe, plus an array of events that takes place throughout the year, no wonder it is quickly becoming the next destination for students, young professionals and families alike.

Top destination for diversity and academic excellence

There are approximately 96,000 students in Manchester, making it one of the largest university populations in Europe. Manchester is impressively the most linguistically diverse city in Western Europe, where 4 in 10 adults speaks more than one language and continues to be one of the top destinations for international students. In 2022 Times Higher Education rated Manchester University the 23rd most international university in the world.

In 2019 Manchester University was ranked 5th best UK institution for employability and in 2021 the ARWU ranked the University academically at 5th and 35th place in the UK and in the world respectively. In the same year it was recognised as a global powerhouse of research, with 93% of its research being assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF). There is currently a ten-year plan to transform the campus, creating world-class facilities.

Manchester University has published that, nine out of ten of its recent graduates’ progress straight to employment or continued studies. The staff and students at the University has 25 Nobel Prizes under their belt to date, the third highest following Oxford and Cambridge, making it a city of academic excellence.

Third best city in the world and surrounded by outdoor beauty

With an abundance of activities to partake, from concerts, operas, art galleries, festivals and acres of parks and countryside, no wonder Manchester was named third best city in the world behind San Francisco and Amsterdam following a survey of 27,000 people by media brand Time Out.

There are also plenty of options for outdoor enthusiasts who wants to explore outside the city. Just under an hour drive away is Peak District National Park which spans 1,438 square kilometres offers educational programmes, family, and community events to explore and discover the Park and its wildlife with lots of activities to feed those curious minds.

Lake District National Park spans an impressive 2,292 square kilometres, making it the second largest national park in the UK, and it is just 1.5 hours’ drive away from city centre. This is a great day trip option for the whole family to unwind from the city and take in the beautiful landscapes or take a leisurely cruise on the lake. With activities from walking, sailing, mountain biking, archery, and zorbing there’s something for all ages.

Third best city in the world and surrounded by outdoor beautyFor those that don’t mind exploring further afield, you can consider a trip to North Wales’ Snowdonia National Park which covers a total of 823 square miles, the largest national park in Wales. There you have the option to explore 1,497 miles of approved paths alongside some of the most breath-taking sceneries Wales has to offer. Explore the family friendly routes to Aber falls, Abergwynant Woods or Benar Boardwalk. If a day visit is not enough, then consider the options for caravans and campsites and spend a long weekend along the beautiful coastline. With laundrettes, dishwashing areas, equipped shower and toilet facilities and kids’ clubs, live music, and comedy performances, you will soon be planning your next visit.

Reshaping the landscape of Manchester

Reshaping the landscape of ManchesterRegeneration and capital growth goes hand in hand, and Manchester is not short of its very own regeneration schemes which continuously shape and transform some of the more neglected parts of the city, making it unrecognisable from a decade ago. Here are four of the city’s largest schemes.

1. Spinningfields

A £1.5 billion project created the ‘Canary Wharf of the North’, which is now home to much of the city’s financial community bringing tenants such as PWC, Deloitte, HSBC, and Barclays.


A £800m scheme, over a period of 10-15 years is a 20 acres masterplan of new homes, offices, hotels, shops, restaurants and bars, and leisure amenities. The first phase will be a £100m headquarters for The Co-operative Group.

3. MediaCityUK

In 2016, MediaCityUK announced its plans for a ten-year regeneration project worth £1billion which would look to double the digital and media hub. Today it is home to the BBC, ITV, Red Production and Equinox to name a few.

4. St John’s

The £1billion development will look to complete in 2025, was described to create Manchester’s newest city centre neighbourhood by creating space for media, tech and modern businesses as well as a new home of TV and film.

The project will see the opening of The Factory in 2023, Europe’s newest and largest arts and performance venue and will be home to the world-renowned Manchester International Festival. As part of the scheme a co-living complex of more than 620 units of accommodation for city dwellers will be created, connecting like-minded professionals.

Sporting capital of the UK

Besides being the home to the two renowned football clubs, the legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games has left the city with many world-class facilities enabling the city to build sporting infrastructure that is second to none. Including Manchester Aquatic Centre, Regional Athletics Arena, National Squash Centre, Manchester Regional Gymnastics Centre and Manchester Velodrome to name a few. The vast choices of sporting activities mean there is always a way to stay active and have fun at the same time.

Cost of living in Manchester

Manchester is one of the top 10 most affordable cities in the UK for students according to the Student Living Index 2021. Rent prices are more than 50% cheaper than in London according to Numbeo (2021). A one-bed apartment in centre of London would cost on average £2,500 per month, whereas something similar in Manchester would cost around £900-1,000 per month.

Despite Greater Manchester has seen a property price growth of 19% in 2019, the cost of living is still far more affordable compared to the capital. In May 2022 the Manchester Evening News, based on the data of Rightmove, conducted a comparison on the average purchase prices in Manchester and London (using Camden, London’s third most expensive borough). The average price in Manchester was £249,576 compared to Camden’s average price of £1.16M. Therefore, great news for those looking to purchase your own home, Manchester is on average 4.6 times lower when compared to the capital.

Money also goes further when it comes to transportation, a monthly any bus, any train pass that covers anywhere in Greater Manchester that can also be used on city zone tram will cost around £134. In comparison to a monthly travelcard for zones 1-6 in London will cost around £270, meaning travelling in Manchester is only 50% of that in London.

Known as the northern powerhouse, Manchester has the largest regional financial and professional services industry in the UK and has a thriving creative, digital and tech sector. 80 members of the FTSE 100 have presence in here. The city contributes to almost 50% of the GDP in the northern territories. The cost of running businesses is 40% lower in comparison to London and it is forecasted that by 2024 there will be an additional 110,000 jobs added to the economy. Thus, making Manchester a competitive alternative for businesses wanting to set up base in the UK.

From British to international cuisines, top retail experience, world class education and sporting facilities, the gateway to beautiful landscapes of the Peak District as well as employment prospects in the tech, digital, legal, and financial sectors, Manchester has everything city life has to offer and more.

The low cost of living without the need to sacrifice the benefits of city life is key in attracting and retaining great employees in the city and with an average rental return of 5-6% compared to London’s 3-4%, Manchester has become the go-to option for both homeowners and investors looking for a great investment opportunity. If you are looking to secure your next home or investment in Manchester, please contact our Benham and Reeves Hong Kong sales team for more information on investing in Manchester.


About the Author

With over 60 years of experience in London market, Benham and Reeves offers a comprehensive one-stop service which includes London property sales (purchase and selling) and full letting and management services to investors. Benham and Reeves Hong Kong SAR office was established in 1995 to provide real estate agency services to Hong Kong buyers, sellers and landlords in regards to all their London property needs.