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Consistently recognised as one of the prime locations of the Northern Powerhouse, the UK’s second city has consistently outperformed most other cities in the UK when it comes to property prices and the trend only looks set to continue along a positive tract. Education is a prime reason to invest in Manchester, but why exactly does the city have so much to offer in this aspect?

World-Class Universities

The student and new graduate market – also known as the under-35s market – is one of the most popular and sought-after tenant demographics by landlords. Therefore, the fact that Manchester offers a world-class level of higher education means great things for property investment. 

The city at large has more than 100,000 students across four prime universities, which are internationally renowned for their quality of education –  the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University are especially well-known. 

With the region also home to the University of Salford, University of Bolton and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester offers access to a total of 24 universities within 1-hour’s travel time. All of this contributes to the city’s reputation as one of the best places to study in the world and international student numbers have increased significantly in recent times. The city currently hosts more than 41,000 international students which had a positive effect on the property markets and high demand for good quality accommodation.

A Progressive City

As the city has continued to welcome more and more investment via the Northern Powerhouse channels, Manchester has developed its reputation as an iconic and forward-thinking city. This has served to encourage new graduates to stay in the city and take advantage of its opportunities. Career prospects are growing increasingly more attractive, diverse and lucrative in line with the city’s rejuvenation. 

In many areas such as tech and digital, the city is overtaking London with regards to opportunities and today boasts more than a 50% graduate retention rate. With such a high quality of graduates thanks to the world-class higher education institutions, talent and innovation continue to be pumped back into the city to create an even more competitive landscape and more sought-after job prospects. 

Many of the UK’s leading public companies are choosing the city as their headquarters or a key location, including the BBC and many financial and professional services companies. In total, 70,000 new jobs are forecast by 2026 and the city centre’s population is expected to reach 60,000 by 2027, marking a tenfold increase from 2002 when Manchester played host to the Commonwealth Games.

High Graduate Retention Rates

This combination of world-leading universities and students choosing to stay on after graduation to take up job opportunities in the city have all contributed to Manchester becoming and maintaining its position as a property investment hotspot. The city’s population increased by 149% between 2002 and 2015 with an 84% increase in city centre employment opportunities since 1998. 

In line with the population growth and continued investment, the quality of living in Manchester has advanced considerably with excellent education, career and cultural opportunities. It also offers a far lower cost of living in comparison to London with very competitive salaries, again making Manchester even more attractive than the UK capital for many new graduates. 

The city also continues to attract thousands of international students and further cement its reputation as a world-class higher education destination. With £1bn investment being made into the airport, Manchester continues to upgrade its air travel links considerably, making it even easier for international students to come to the city for their studies. 

Back on the ground, major investments are being made to overhaul the city’s train station and increase connectivity across the northern regions as part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme. This opening up opportunities for graduates to live in the wider region and commute back to the city to benefit from prime job opportunities. This also means a wider scope of demand for buy-to-let Manchester landlords.

Buy to Let in Manchester

This highly favourable property investment landscape means that Manchester offers some of the best yields in the UK for buy-to-let landlords with property prices still remaining below the national average. As one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, this northern hotspot is also predicted a 20-30% property price growth over the next 3-4 years. 

Named by GoCompare as the number one place in the UK to be a landlord, the city of Manchester continues to receive millions of pounds in government funding and private investment designed to further improve infrastructure and create even more demand for high-quality property. Buy to let in Manchester means gaining access to a wide range of desirable and affordable property with high rental yields and high rates of capital growth. 

As the Northern Powerhouse demonstrates resilience even in the wake of Brexit, more and more investors are moving away from London and towards the northern regions. Manchester’s economic and property boom has been further bolstered by significant investment from overseas including the Middle East, China and North America, with the third in particular boosting the buy-to-let Manchester property market.

With a huge student population and high graduate retention rates, gone are the days when London was the centre of it all. Now it’s the UK’s “second city” that boasts a consistently strong development pipeline and excellent property investment opportunities.


For more information on property investment in Manchester, contact Alesco today.