top of page

The Oxstone Property Investment Report 2024 - Part 1: Manchester

Updated: Mar 27

T H E O X S T O N E P R O P E R T Y I N V E S T M E N T R E P O R T 2 0 2 4

P A R T 1 - M A N C H E S T E R


Welcome to the first in our series of City Reports for 2024.

In this series, we will explore the fundamentals and investment case for each of the UK cities which have made our investment shortlist for 2024. In this first Report, we are focussing on Manchester, a city which has had a consistent presence among the top destinations for buy-to-let investments in the UK in recent years.

We have used 8 objective criteria to assess the investment case for each of our featured cities:

  1. Rental demand;

  2. Rental price growth;

  3. Rental yields;

  4. Property prices;

  5. Economic outlook;

  6. Regeneration projects and investment schemes;

  7. Connectivity; and

  8. Amenities.

We hope you find our City Reports series interesting and informative. If you are interested in investing in Manchester, or any other town or city across the UK, please reach out to us for a discussion.



2023 presented formidable challenges for the UK housing market. The escalating cost of debt from mid-2022 onwards, a result of the Bank of England having raised the base rate to a 15-year high of 5.25% to tackle inflation, diminished the spending power of potential buyers, dissuading those contemplating a move and first-time buyers from entering the property market. The conclusion of the 'Help to Buy' scheme in October 2022 further exacerbated these challenges by reducing the availability of funding for first-time buyers.

These factors have led to an increase in the number of people opting to continue to rent rather than to buy, which in turn has increased demand on the rental sector and pushed rents up, while simultaneously applying a downward pressure on purchase prices.

Concurrently, fewer rental properties are available on the market across our shortlisted cities. The number of rental properties listed on Rightmove in the three months to June 2023 was down 17% on the same period in 2019, and was 6% lower than in 2022. In addition to the increased numbers of lease renewals, the reduction in rental stock is in part due to landlords having left the sector. We outlined some of the reasons for this in our September blog post. Many landlords have left the sector as a result of increased borrowing costs, which has forced those overexposed to debt (approximately 10%) to sell up.

The housing market in our chosen cities has nevertheless proven remarkably robust. Downward pressure on prices caused by increased mortgage rates, together with high rental demand, as well as reduced competition among landlords and record rental rates, could combine to make 2024 an excellent time to invest.

Factors placing downwards pressure on house prices

Factors placing upwards pressure on rents

Material increases in mortgage rates since the start of 2022, decreasing affordability for purchasers.

Material increases in mortgage rates since the start of 2022, meaning landlords have increased rents to cover their costs.

Conclusion of the Help to Buy Scheme, as more people look to renew leases rather than buy.

Conclusion of the Help to Buy Scheme, as more people look to renew leases rather than buy.

Return to city-centre living following the end of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Reduction in rental stock, caused by increased renewals and landlords exiting the market.

Increased net immigration to the UK.

Manchester - Overview





Avg. house price*

Avg. yield**

Avg. asking rent**

5Y price growth****

Once the global centre of the industrial revolution, Manchester can rightly lay claim to having significantly shaped the world in which we live, with a rich history of science, innovation and technology, industry, music, art and sport. Manchester's reputation as a vibrant, energetic and growing city within the UK is continuing to blossom, and with its strong cultural diversity, excellent music venues, variety of nightlife and thriving sports scene, Manchester remains a popular place to live.

Best places to buy property in the UK
Manchester, United Kingdom. Clockwise from the top: The skyline, The Hilton hotel, The Civil Justice Centre, One Angel Square and Manchester Town Hall.

Widely considered to be the "capital of the north", the city's reputation for having a flourishing real estate sector, including strong capital growth, yields and rental demands, has given it a consistent presence among the top destinations for buy-to-let investments in the country in recent years.

The factors set out in this article form part of the reason why Manchester has evolved into a prominent build-to-rent hub, marked by the emergence of significant clusters of skyscrapers which have re-shaped its skyline.

"Manchester's economic growth is underpinned by its diverse industry base, with specialisms in advanced manufacturing, business, finance and professional services, life sciences, energy and environment. It is also the UK’s second largest creative, digital and tech hub."
CBRE, "Which City? Which Sector?" Report, June 5 2023


Criteria 1: Rental Demand





Population growth since 2011

Rental stock versus 2019

Graduates per annum

Graduate retention rate

Each of the cities in our 2024 shortlist is experiencing substantial rental demand, with Manchester amongst the highest outside of London. Of the UK cities outside London, Manchester has seen amongst the highest fall in rental stock reaching the market, with listings down 24% compared with 2019, and Rightmove reports rental enquiries having more than trebled between 2019 and 2023, with the North West (including Manchester) leading the way.

Analysis of rental enquiries data in the UK between 2019 and 2023

Robust population growth is contributing to the sustained growth in rental demand. Manchester's population increased by 9.7% in the decade from 2011 to 2021 (from around 503,100 to 552,000), driven in large part by the economic growth and development of the city. This figure is materially higher than the overall increase for England, which stands at 6.6%. CBRE has predicted a further c. 6% rise in the population of Manchester over the next ten years, and Manchester City Council has predicted that the city's population will top 630,000 within the next six years. Nearby Salford's population has also increased 15.4% within the same time period, underscoring its status as a rapidly growing city. Central Manchester's population alone is expected to grow by an additional 40,000 by 2026.

Manchester is host to multiple universities and educational establishments, including the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the Royal Northern College of Music, and demand for rental property is supported by Manchester's student and graduate population. Over 100,000 students are enrolled across the city's institutions, one of the largest student populations in Europe. Manchester also has one of the highest graduate retention rates in the UK, with over half of students remaining in the city post-graduation (Savills claims the figure is over 60%). This compares strongly with Leeds (29%) and Liverpool (31%). The attractiveness of Manchester to other young professionals across the UK and internationally, has created a consistent flow of talent into the city (c. 36,000 graduates per annum), and resulted in over 45% of the population of Manchester being under 35 years of age.


Criteria 2: Rental Price Growth





Annual rental growth

1 bed average rent per month

2 bed average rent per month

3 bed average rent per month

Rental prices within Manchester have risen at record rates over recent years. In the year to August 2023, Manchester experienced +19.6% average annual rental growth, following on from the 22% average annual rental growth in the city centre in the year to December 2022. Average rents for a new one bed flat in the city are currently circa £1,035pcm, £1,300 pcm for a two bed flat and £1,581 pcm for a three-bed^, though other sources put the averages even higher, around £1,225, £1,600 and £2,200 respectively.

Between 2023 – 2027, JLL has forecasted five-year rental growth of 21.6% in Manchester, the strongest in the UK. The latest data from the ONS recorded average rents in England rising by 6% year on year, the highest on record, and CBRE expects a similar rate of growth to persist in 2024, with the Build-to-Rent sector likely outperforming the broader headline level of growth.

There is growing aligning in the market that rental price growth will begin to slow in 2024 as rental affordability decreases. Rightmove has predicted that rents outside of London generally will be 5% higher than in 2023. For in-demand cities such as Manchester, the expectancy is that the figure will exceed this.

^Data from based on near real-time property listings seen on, and Valid as at 11 January 2023.


Criteria 3: Rental Yields





Average yield, M14

Average yield, M11

Average yield, M6

Average yield, M1**

Gross rental yields for traditional buy-to-let properties of between 5% and 7% in Manchester are typical.'s data suggests average rental yields across Manchester's fifty postcodes is 5.88%.'s data suggests yields average yields are slightly higher, at c. 6.07% across 40 postcodes. This compares favourably with the national average yield for UK rental property, which is estimated to be approximately 4.75%.

Rental yields are strongest in the M14 postcode of Fallowfield, which is effectively Manchester's student village. Properties here are generally cheaper than in the city centre and are often let as homes of multiple occupation, resulting in high rental yields. Within the city centre postcodes of M1, M2, M3 and M4, and across the Salford postcodes of M5, M6 and M50, the average yield is c. 6.46% (according to and 6.41% (according to Coupled with expected capital growth in property values, this presents a potentially attractive return for investors.

More broadly, the recent downward pressure on house prices, coupled with rental price growth presents opportunities to achieve strong gross yields in various areas of the city.


Criteria 4: Property Prices





Average house price*

5-year capital appreciation, across 40 Manchester postcodes

5-year capital appreciation, central Manchester

12-month capital appreciation, central Manchester

Average house prices in Manchester exceed those of other northern cities, including Liverpool (£189,050), Newcastle (£237,501) and Glasgow (£230,171) and are comparable to those in Leeds (£245,593) and Birmingham (£248,759). Manchester's prices remain highly competitive when compared to Edinburgh (£345,124) and southern cities such as London (£735,685), Bristol (£395,575) and Brighton (£495,160).*

Analysis of sold-price data from the UK Land Registry indicates that the five-year growth curve for house prices in central Manchester is +18% positive, despite house prices having fallen roughly 7% over the last 12 months (see diagram below). The fall in house prices, driven largely by increases in mortgage interest rate rises, presents an opportunity for potential investors to take advantage of a dip in the market, and benefit from the enhanced yields this will generate. There is a growing sense that a small reduction in interest rates will spark an increase in the number of active purchasers.

Graph showing house prices in Manchester over last 5 years
5 year price growth curve for central Manchester. Source:

"As the housing market navigates through fluctuating mortgage rates, there's cautious optimism that a slight ease in these rates might boost buyer confidence. This shift could encourage more individuals to proceed with buying homes. Those ready to ascend the property ladder may leverage the buyers' market depending on the type and location of their second or third home in Manchester, presenting offers lower than the asking price in hopes of securing a deal."
Julian Wadden, Leading Estate and Lettings Agent in South Manchester

Further, despite the challenges posed to the wider property market in the UK, new development house prices in Manchester over the last 12 months have bucked the trend. Average annual new build house price growth was 4.9% in the year to August 2023 in the non-prime market, and 1.6% in the prime market according to JLL. This may in part be driven by the demand for more modern, energy efficient homes, which has risen significantly since the start of the war in Ukraine and the increase in the cost of energy thereafter. CBRE's figures indicate a 6.9% year-on-year increase in the price of multi-family housing accommodation in Manchester.

House price growth in Manchester year on year

While property price fluctuations are notoriously difficult to predict, experts are generally coalescing around the view that prices in the UK, taken as a whole, will fall modestly in 2024. Halifax has predicted an overall fall of between 2% and 4%, Nationwide has suggested prices may be flat or suffer a small single digit decline. Zoopla and Rightmove have predicted drops of 2% and 1% respectively, while Savills and JLL are predicting a drop of 3%. Importantly, these estimates cover the whole of the UK, including London and the south where house prices are substantially higher than in Manchester, meaning that affordability is more stretched and prices have further to fall. Local estate agents Ryder & Dutton are expecting house prices to stabilise roughly at their current level during 2024 in Manchester.

*Source: Zoopla, based on sold prices for the last 12 months.


Criteria 5: Economic outlook

Manchester has seen its gross value added (GVA) grow by 32% over the last decade, outpacing Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol. Over the next ten years, Oxford Economics has predicted GVA growth of 23% for Manchester, exceeding the national expected growth of 18%. According to EY’s latest Regional Economic Forecast, Manchester is set to see the third-fastest economic growth of all UK towns and cities between 2024 and 2026, of 2.5%, behind only London (2.6%) and Reading (2.7%). Manchester’s positive outlook is supported by expectations for the professional, scientific and technical, and financial and insurance activities sectors. By 2026, GVA in Manchester’s local economy is expected to be £2bn larger than in 2022. Manchester is also expected to record the fastest rate of employment growth of any UK town or city from 2024 to 2026, with job numbers in the city forecast to grow 1.8% per year over the period, which compares favourably with the expected average jobs growth rate of 1.3% a year in the UK as a whole.

Manchester also performed exceptionally well in CBRE’s ranking of UK growth cities for 2023, claiming a spot as a top five city for growth in nearly all of the consultancy’s sector studies – including top marks for half of them. Indeed, Manchester ranked no. 1 for office based employment and GDP growth on CBRE's 10 year projection (%):

Manchester growth projections

Manchester currently hosts 80 out of the top 100 FTSE companies, including industry giants like Amazon, the BBC, and Kellogg's. National and global corporations including BT, PwC, HSBC, Deliveroo, Deloitte, Uber and Siemens have also chosen to set up offices in Manchester. The city has become a flourishing hub for emerging sectors such as tech, life sciences, and media, and developers are showcasing confidence in the job market by submitting plans for over 2.6 million square feet of office space, reinforcing the city's resilience and growth trajectory.


Criteria 6: Regeneration projects and investment schemes

The city has undergone a construction boom in recent years, which has revolutionised the skyline and increased the population of the city centre.

The redevelopment of the Salford Quays and Spinningfields areas in the last two decades, and the creation of MediaCity UK, has had an outsized influence in attracting young professionals to Manchester. The city's significant economic and demographic expansion is expected to continue, fuelled by ongoing urban regeneration initiatives, including an announcement in the 2023 Autumn Statement of a new Investment Zone for Greater Manchester which is expected to create 32,000 new jobs and leverage £1.1 billion of private sector investment. Other ongoing major investment projects include:

Victoria North: A joint £4bn investment project between Manchester City Council and the Far East Consortium, Victoria North is described as "the biggest renewal project Manchester has ever seen", with a plan to regenerate c. 150 acres of brownfield land, build 15,000 new homes, improve public transport, create new open green spaces and build retail opportunities in Manchester's north.

The Trafford Civic Quarter Masterplan: An adopted plan from Trafford Council to redevelop c. 135 acres of the Trafford area, home to both the Old Trafford football and cricket stadia, introduce 500,000 sq ft of additional commercial space, 4,000 new homes, a new primary school, 100-bedroom hotel and new infrastructure to create the borough’s “newest, greenest and most vibrant neighbourhood”. Several schemes that fall within the masterplan area are already progressing, including the redevelopment of the former Kellogg’s headquarters. Trafford Council recently appointed Hawkins\Brown to draw up a regeneration strategy for 215 acres connecting the Manchester Ship Canal and the Civic Quarter.

Build to rent investment in Manchester and the UK
Source: JLL

St. John's Development: A £1bn development of a 6 hectare plot within central Manchester, aiming to create a mixed-use neighbourhood with residential, commercial, and leisure spaces. The development includes the ‘Factory,’ a world class new cultural destination, supporting the development of the arts including theatre. It will be the permanent home of Manchester International Festival.

Manchester also attracted the highest level of build to rent investment between 2015 and 2022 among each of the 'Big 6' cities outside of London.


Criteria 7: Connectivity

Manchester has multi-modal, integrated transport facilities – including a comprehensive rail network, 30-mile outer ring road, and an international airport that serves more than 185 destinations. While the north of England has generally lagged behind London in terms of the quality and extent of its public transport, Manchester is in the process of redeveloping its infrastructure, with bus and train services due to fall under public ownership within the coming years, and a broader 'Bee Network', which aims to deliver a joined-up London-style transport system under public ownership for Greater Manchester.

By train: Despite the recent cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester leg of the 'HS2' high speed railway, Manchester remains well connected via train to Birmingham (c. 1 hour) and London (c. 2 hours), with trains operating approximately every 20 minutes. Frequent, direct trains to neighbouring cities including Leeds Liverpool, and the wider UK are also available, and investment continues in railway infrastructure, with the UK government having promised to divert some of the £36billion would otherwise have been spent on HS2 to other infrastructure projects in the North West, including £12bn to deliver “fast links” between Liverpool and Manchester.

By road: Manchester city centre lies at the heart of an expansive motorway network, with the M60 and the inner-city ring road making access in and around the city centre and the wider region, as well as access to the country's motorway network, straightforward. Manchester has a comprehensive bus and tram network operating across the city, including the popular 'Metrolink' service. The extensive tram network has helped to reduce air pollution, which is lower in Manchester than in other major cities.

By air: Manchester has excellent connectivity with Europe via its airport, which acts as the UK's gateway to the north. It is the largest UK airport outside London, with more than 185 destinations served by more than 50 airlines. Manchester Airports Group is investing in its airport infrastructure, and is currently part-way through its Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), a £1bn investment programme that aims to improve passenger experiences and help attract more of the world's leading airlines.


Criteria 8: Amenities

Lastly, Manchester offers a wide variety of cultural, musical, recreational and sporting activities, which add to its appeal as a place to live and invest.

Arts & Culture: Manchester has a very strong museum offering, including natural history and anthropology (the Manchester Museum), Art (Manchester Art Gallery, the Lowry and the Whitworth Art Gallery), football (the National Football Museum), social and historical (People's History Museum), and science and industry (S&I Museum). The recently opened Factory International focusses on performing arts, visual arts and popular culture and hosts the Manchester International Festival every two years.

Gig culture: Manchester has deep ties to the music industry and has birthed some of the world’s greatest bands, from Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, New Order, Joy Division, Simply Red and The Chemical Brothers, Take That to name just a few. Live music is available in bars and clubs all year round, catering to all types of musical tastes, from Jazz, to Indie, Classical to Electronic. The city is home to a wide variety of music venues, from the 21,000-seater Manchester Area (the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, and the fifth-largest in Europe), the 3,500 capacity 02 Apollo for smaller gigs, and the Eagle Inn, which can fit a crowd of 80 for its live bands and open mic nights.

Nature: For those seeking weekend getaways, Manchester has good proximity to stunning natural landscapes, including the Peak District, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Park. Within the city itself, green space is never far away, with a range a large parks, including Heaton Park, Whitworth Park and Platt Fields Park.

Nightlife: Manchester's youthful demographic has led to a proliferation of nightlife venues. There is an abundance of high-end cocktail bars, including Cloud 23 at the Hilton, the Alchemist, Schofield's Bar and Speak in Code, as well as a lengthy list of clubs and bars, including Revolucion de Cuba, Albert's Schloss and many others.

Restaurants and Cafés: With literally hundreds of restaurants, Manchester is home to a wide range of quality, modern British and international cuisine. From high-end Restaurants in Spinningfields (Hawksmoor, The Ivy, 20 Stories) to street food at The Maker’s Market and Freight Island, there are various options to suit different tastes, moods and budgets. Deansgate offers everything from tapas to traditional British food, while the smashed avocado-fueled cafés of the Northern Quarter are a favourite with locals. Excellent Asian, Indian, Middle-Eastern food is never far away. Food & creative destination Diecast is well regarded, and the opening of Soho House Manchester in 2024, the first in the north, is eagerly anticipated.

Sport: Manchester is home to two of the most famous football clubs in the World, Manchester United and Manchester City. Old Trafford football ground is the second largest football stadium in the UK. Lancashire County Cricket Club play at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, which regularly hosts International Test Matches, one-day, T20 and The Hundred matches. Other state-of-the-art facilities include:

  • Chill Factore indoor skiing and snowboarding slope

  • Manchester Aquatics Center

  • Manchester BMX Track

  • Manchester Climbing Center

  • Manchester Regional Gymnastics Center

  • National Squash Center

  • Regional Athletics Center

  • Regional Tennis Center

  • The National Cycling Center (Manchester Velodrome)

  • The Salford Quays Watersports Center.



Manchester has secured its place on our shortlist of the best UK cities in which to invest in 2024 due to its strong performance in each of our objective investment criteria. A combination of strong rental demand, high rental growth, affordable (and indeed falling) house prices, together with strong economic fundamentals, infrastructure and amenities, make the city an attractive proposition for investors.

If you are interested in potentially investing in Manchester, or any other location across the UK, reach out to us for a discussion.


About Oxstone

Oxstone is a market-leading UK property sourcing company and purchaser's agency. We leverage the latest AI-enabled property sourcing and investment analysis software and our strong network of connections across the UK to source, analyse and secure excellent residential and investment properties for our clients, including off-market properties that are not available to the general public.

We also offer our clients deep market expertise, superior transaction management throughout the buying process and connections to recommended service providers. Our expert guidance through each step of the buying process ensures our clients are among the best placed in the market to succeed in their relocations or investments.


Additional sources and references

*Source: Zoopla, average sold price in last 12 months.

**Source:, across 50 Manchester postcodes

***Source:, across 50 Manchester postcodes

****Source:, across 40 Manchester postcodes

57 views0 comments


bottom of page