Manchester, once famous for flat caps and post-industrial decline, has in recent decades reinvented itself. Home to two of the greatest football teams on earth and a significant media and technology sector - Manchester has become Northern England's answer to London, and property values in the city reflect this.
Residential property price growth in Manchester - driven by significant public and private investment, an ongoing lack of housing supply, a significant student population and the return of city centre living - has outperformed the UK average with annual average growth of 4.2%, compared with a UK average of 2.4%.
This growth is also reflected in rental yields which are expected to increase by 3.5% between now and 2020 according to property specialists JLL who have rated Manchester the No 1 prospect for residential price growth over the next five years.
And the trends show no sign of dissipating with businesses continuing to invest in the city (Amazon is just the latest major company to invest in Manchester city centre office space) and young professionals continuing to choosing to live in the city centre - in 2000 there were 10,000 people living in the heart of the city. Now there are nearly 70,000.
Bucking the trend?
So, why is Manchester experiencing double-digit growth - despite the B word, otherwise known as Brexit?
There are several trends shaping Manchester's fortunes which, in many ways, are independent of Brexit. Despite negotiations between the UK and the EU continuing to be fractious, the economic mood music gives cause for optimism. Employment levels are up, the deficit is down and companies continue to invest.
This is especially the case in Manchester where a young and well-educated population, combined with the new mayor of Manchester's overarching and well considered strategy of building a ‘northern powerhouse', is creating the right environment for an economic boom. As such Manchester finds itself on the frontier of many new industries such as graphene and attracting significant business investment from numerous high-tech, high-skill industries. This is combined with the fact that London - the traditional destination for international investors looking for a slice of the UK property market - is truly saturated. As such we are seeing property prices in the capital decline, while cities across the rest of the UK continue to boom.
And while UK residents do seem to have been left uneasy by the ongoing Brexit negotiations - with just 3% of respondents to a recent survey from IP Global saying they plan to invest in the domestic residential property market over the next 12 months, down from 4% one year ago - the same cannot be said for overseas investors. In the same survey 19% of those surveyed from Hong Kong said they would consider UK property, alongside 20% from the United Arab Emirates and 45% from South Africa.
So, regardless of Brexit, a booming economy and a clear long-term trend towards growth in UK property investments are continuing to attract significant capital.
A saturated market
So, as Manchester property continues to outperform the wider UK, how can investors get a foothold in this competitive market? Manchester's abundance of old and disused industrial sites, means the development pipeline remains strong and there are still opportunities for those who'll take them.
This is where companies like Select Property Group come in. Based in Cheshire on the leafy borders of Manchester but operating globally, Select has a finger firmly on the pulse of the Manchester property scene and a history of delivering properties that work for investors and for residents.
Their latest project is the Elizabeth Tower at Crown Street in the city's popular Deansgate district. The tower is ready to set a new standard in city centre living in Manchester. At 52 elegantly fitted floors, this will be one of the UK's tallest residential towers and an instant landmark. Alongside apartments (175 of which have already been sold since launch on 15th October), the tower will also host luxury retail, a roof terrace, royal garden and - at 44 storeys up - one of Europe's highest swimming pools.
Commenting on Elizabeth Tower, and where it will fit into Manchester's booming skyline, Adam Price, Managing Director of Select Property Group said:
"The change Manchester has seen in recent years continues to amaze, and Elizabeth Tower at Crown Street is a symbol of that change. Situated amongst a new cluster of skyscrapers that are changing the city's skyline, and boasting the kind of luxury that Manchester city simply couldn't have supported until recently, the tower is testament to the cities success.
"With the city's rich musical, cultural and sporting heritage, emerging industries such as graphene, and with Greater Manchester hosting the headquarters of world-class companies including Adidas UK, Essar Oil and JD Sports we are unsurprised to have seen many of the apartments available be bought off plan. With a projected rental yield of 7%, combined with 20% capital growth, Manchester is a better bet for investors than other asset classes.
"Elizabeth Tower at Crown Street will be a new icon for the Manchester skyline, and an iconic addition to any property portfolio."