Crunch time for residential in Manchester

With over 10,000 apartments due to launch in central Manchester in 2019 and 2020 alone, can the market cope?

UrbInfo has been tracking residential developments in Manchester since January 2014, and in that time over 42,500 new apartments have been submitted for planning in central Manchester across the Manchester, Salford and Trafford local authorities. Since January 2014, 25,231 residential units have started construction in the city - about 59% of the amount entered for planning.

Emerging from the recession

In 2014, the total number of apartments delivered in the city centre was zero, as the city's development industry emerged from the recession. In 2015, this rose to a measly 551, and then a respectable 1,050 completed in 2016. By 2017, the residential boom was in full swing and cranes adorned the city skyline as investment poured in. In that year, nearly 1,700 units were delivered to market, and a further 2,657 were delivered during 2018. Over 800 apartments were delivered in September 2018 alone.

So far in 2019, over 2,400 apartments have been delivered but it is the second half 2019 and the first half of 2020 which will test the resilience of Manchester's residential market the most.

Number of residential units completing or due to complete per month, 2014-2019. Data from UrbInfo. Some numbers are estimates.

Building the residential boom

This graph shows the number of residential units which have completed in central Manchester between January 2014 and July 2019. Click here for a higher quality graph. We are also able to forecast forward, to show the number of units due to complete from now until December 2020. The second half of 2019 will see 4,940 apartments complete across central Manchester, taking 2019's total to an enormous 6,093, or 78% of the total number of apartments delivered in the last five years.

"78% of the total number of apartments to be delivered in Manchester between 2014 and 2020 will be delivered in the second half of 2019."

Another 4,053 are due to complete during 2020. The biggest among them is Deansgate Square South Tower, delivering 496 apartments to the market by March 2020. In Spring 2020, Capital and Centric will launch a further 478 apartments at Kampus, which is located across from Canal Street in the Gay Village. Other schemes launching with over 400 apartments in the next few months include Angel Gardens (August 2019) and Affinity Living Circle Square (Summer 2020), which is part of a cross-developer plan to deliver an exciting new mixed use district off Oxford Road.

BTR city

Build-to-Rent (BTR) in Manchester is now head and shoulders above other regional cities. It's estimated there are now nearly 2,000 BTR units operating in the city, compared to just over 500 in Birmingham and 750 in Leeds.

2,596 BTR units are currently under construction in Manchester, with Angel Gardens being the largest among them. Due for completion in August 2019, it has all the luxury amenities that people have come to expect of high quality BTR developments: a gym, concierge, courtyard garden, huge resident's lounge and co-working space - and even a roof top tennis court. It joins a growing and thriving BTR community in Manchester which includes The Slate Yard and Anaconda Cut in Salford, and Deansgate Square West Tower - which will share a resident's gym, sports hall, business hub, swimming pool and spa with the rest of the Deansgate Square complex in 2020.

Full list of BTR developments in Manchester

Can the market cope?

It's easy to see the projected influx of units onto the Manchester market in the next twelve months and worry about the market crashing. There were about 15,000 apartments in the city centre in 2011, and by the next census in 2021 that number will have swelled by a further 20,000 - with nearly 13,000 of those apartments due to be delivered in 2018, 2019 and 2020 alone.

"5,413 jobs are coming to the city centre in 2019 alone, with a further 16,300 coming in the next three years."

The main demand driver for people moving to Manchester city centre is jobs, as it is with most cities. A quick calculation of the number of jobs announced by companies moving to or expanding in Manchester in the last seven months reveals 5,413 jobs are arriving in the city centre and Salford Quays this year alone. Among them are UKFast, US consultancy Slalom, Hewlett Packard, On The Beach and Amazon. This doesn't include growth in SMEs, which usually accounts for a higher percentage of jobs growth than larger companies. Ernst & Young (EY) also predict the arrival of 16,300 new jobs in the city by 2021, while The Hut Group are currently building a new campus headquarters by the Airport which will employ up to 9,000 people on completion.

On the cusp of a commercial boom

There is already nearly 2.5 million sqft of office space under construction in central Manchester right now. The biggest schemes are Numbers 1 and 2 Circle Square (combined, 390,000 sqft), Manchester Goods Yard (341,000 sqft) and Two New Bailey (263,000 sqft). The number of new residential planning applications in Manchester has fallen in 2019 compared to 2018, 2017 and 2016. In its place has been a wave of new planning applications for more office developments in the city: nearly half a million sqft of office space has gone in for planning so far in 2019, with NOMA's 4 Angel Square (200,000 sqft) and Allied London's 102,000 sqft Media Building in St Johns among them. It comes as some developers convert sites from resi to commercial to respond to the market, such as at the Great Northern Warehouse.

Nearly 3.8 million sqft of office space is due to complete in central Manchester by 2021, fuelling the next wave of residential developments.


UrbInfo's datasets list every major residential, office, student and hotel development in Manchester and are used and trusted by people across the industry. Find out more.