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Manchester tops all leagues and beats London to win Manhattan title

May 20, 2014Article by Ray Withers

As thousands of Manchester City fans flock to celebrate their team’s Premiership win against West Ham, further thousands of Manchester fans are flocking to live in the UKY city.

Known as the ‘London of the North’, recent statistics are now showing Manchester as beating the capital as the “best place to live” in the UK – especially since the BBC relocated to Salford Quays and the £800 million NOMA regeneration scheme was launched. In fact, the 2013 Economist Intelligence Unit survey voted Manchester the Most Liveable City in the UK.

Manchester takes on London and wins

So let’s take a look at why Manchester City is top of the league in both football and lifestyle. First the numbers.

A report compiled by investment company Midas and comparison site Numbeo, gives a breakdown of how much more you get for your money in Manchester over London. In London, the average house will set you back £364,574, while a similar property up north will cost less than a third at an average of just £104,285.

Comparable areas, such as Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter (£127,664) vs London’s Islington (526,667), or Spinningfields (£173,416) vs Canary Wharf (£356,925), show massive differences between property values. And that is before factoring in travel costs to get around. Whereas the Northern Quarter, for example, is within walking distance of Manchester’s Piccadilly, living in London’s Islington will probably cost you an additional £1,216 in tube fares.

Urban areas also show huge differences in values, with a terraced house in Manchester’s Altrincham costing £245,061 against Wimbledon, London’s £301,950. Even leafy Wilmslow, one of the wealthiest areas in the North West has average property values around £30,000 lower than the capital’s equivalent. Not to mention a difference of around £3,000 a year in commuter fares and the fact that parking in Manchester typically costs £2 less per hour than in London.

Skyrocketing property and low costs of living

Food and drink also cost less up north and Manchester is in its element with its domestically-produced beer costing just £3 and bottled water up to almost 18% cheaper than in London. A bottle of wine will cost you an average of £1.26 less, you’ll save 20p on a kilo of rice, 15p on eggs and 6p for every litre of milk. In fact, pretty much everything costs less in Manchester, from gym membership, childcare costs, utilities such as gas and electric, clothing and shoes.

However, while the cost of living is far lower, the value of Manchester property is now rivalling London as the UK’s top performer. Nationwide’s March 2014 report shows price rises of 18% in a single year (up to 21% in some central areas), racing ahead of the national average of 9.5%, with Halifax reporting an average of 8.5% year-on-year.

As Manchester’ house prices skyrocket to eight times the area’s average income, it becomes more difficult for locals to get onto the property ladder and further boosts the already-strong rental market.

Britain’s Big Apple has “New York vibe”

As well as going head to head with London, Manchester is also being tipped as Britain’s ‘Big Apple’ with comparisons to New York’s Manhattan. Said to be developing “a New York vibe”, Manchester has seen a huge increase in 20 to 30-something professionals living in the area. The last census showed 123,600 in this bracket, compared to just 78,301 a decade ago. While this is not unconnected to the BBC Salford Quays move, the trend is now more widespread.

Manchester’s skyline is also being compared to that of Manhattan, albeit on a smaller scale. City-living journalist, Phil Martin, told us: “There is no question that Manhattan towers over Manchester in terms of building heights but there are definitely lifestyle similarities between the two. I recently visited the new business district known as Spinningfields and found myself surrounded by gleaming new skyscrapers and, for a moment, I wondered what city I was it. The diversity of subcultures is breathtaking.”

Strike gold with bang on trend redbrick property

Ray Withers, CEO of Property Frontiers, comments: “These comparisons to London and Manhattan have boosted interest in Manchester’s high spec, city living apartments. But unlike London, with its spiralling living costs, Manchester still offers a great quality of living for a much lower price tag. The area’s thriving residential property market offers some fantastic opportunities for investors and buildings such as the hugely popular, redbrick, Manhattan-style Trafford Mill are bang on trend and one of the leading investments in the whole of Manchester right now.”

Get in touch on +44 1865 202 700 to find out more about investing in Manchester and how you can gain 8% NET annual returns from the city’s most desirable property.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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