Manchester is a leading European business destination and the most successful UK city for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) outside of London. The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, it continues to be a city which innovates across a variety of sectors. As highlighted in The Data City for the UK’s Top Digital Tech Cities – 2020 report, Manchester outperforms all other major UK cities in the fields of AI and data, advanced materials, cyber, construction tech, eCommerce, IoT, MedTech and service design.
As well as being home to a fast-growing £5 billion digital ecosystem, Manchester is officially the UK’s Top Digital Tech City, with ambitions to become a top five European digital city and global influencer.
Talent-hungry companies choose to invest in Manchester because of the people that choose to live, work and study here. With access to 7.2 million people within a one-hour drive and over 100,000 students, Manchester provides companies with unrivalled access to a wealth of talent. With strengths in cyber security, FinTech, genomics, advanced materials and more, the people here have the skills to drive forward the innovative technologies that are shaping its future.
Manchester is also home to the largest regional financial, professional and business services (FPBS) industry outside of London, employing more than 280,000 people and accounting for 20% of the local economy. Manchester is home to the UK’s largest regional FinTech ecosystem and to some of the world’s leading financial, professional and business services companies from Barclays, BNY Mellon, AXA, Latham & Watkins, OakNorth and Adyen.
Spinningfields, one of Europe’s most successful urban regeneration projects, sits at the heart of the city’s FPBS industry, where it is estimated that 20,000 people work. Firms including Barclays, Deloitte and Brewin Dolphin are located here, a sign of their confidence in Manchester as a place where the largest transactions can be made and signed off.
Media City is an international hub for technology, innovation and creativity. An eclectic and exciting mix of over 200 businesses call MediaCityUK their home, from global celebrated brands to up-and-coming names – all complemented by the retail and leisure activities offered by Lowry Outlet Shopping at MediaCityUK. Home to the likes of the BBC, ITV, Ericsson, dock10 and Kellogg’s, and complemented by more than 250 smaller media and digital businesses. As a focal point for nurturing the best talent and host to a wide variety of leisure activities, MediaCityUK is a vibrant, sustainable destination to work, live and play, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Manchester city region has 18 colleges and institutions all of which have varied specialities. The total student population for the city region is more than 400,000; over 100,000 of which are studying across the regions’ five universities, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, The University of Salford, The University of Bolton and University Academy 92 - – producing around 40,000 high-quality graduates every year.
In addition, there are also students at the Royal Northern College of Music and the University Campus Oldham.
With five leading universities and an array of schools and colleges, Manchester’s educational institutions provide the region with a world-class learning hub. If you’re a school leaver looking to extend your education or a professional wanting to increase your skills and expertise, the region’s universities, higher education providers, industry-led apprenticeships and training programmes have courses to meet your every need.
Over 60% of graduates who study in the North West stay in the area to work – 51% specifically in Manchester – providing businesses with a skilled and sustainable pool of graduate talent.
Manchester’s population has increased by 9.7% in the last 10 years to 552,000. This is significantly higher than the overall increase for England which was 6.6%. Nearby areas like Salford also saw their populations increase by around 15.4% and Trafford at 3.8%.
At 9.7%, Manchester’s population increase is higher than the increase for the North West which was 5.2%. In 2021, Manchester ranked sixth for total population out of 309 local authority areas in England, moving up two places in a decade.
Transport & Connections:
Manchester is one of the most accessible cities in the UK for both national and international visitors, making Manchester an ideal gateway to the North.
Manchester's world-class, integrated transport facilities include a comprehensive rail network, a 30-mile outer ring road, and an international airport that serves more than 210 destinations - providing businesses and people here with a gateway to national business networks and opportunities.
Manchester Airport is the largest regional airport in the UK serving over 27 million passengers every year to over 210 cities including San Francisco, Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.
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 straightforward.
Manchester's tram/light rail network, Metrolink, radiates from the City Centre to the majority of Greater Manchester's boroughs including Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, Eccles, MediaCityUK, East Didsbury, Rochdale and Manchester Airport.
Manchester also offers excellent access to other major UK cities. Direct services to and from London run every 20 minutes, taking just over 2 hours, as well as frequent direct trains to neighbouring cities including Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and the wider UK.
Manchester city centre continues to be a major driver of economic growth in the city region and a key location for domestic and international business investment. The Central Business District (CBD) is home to a wide range of companies of varied sizes, across a range of business sectors. It is fundamental to the city remaining a leading business destination.
The regeneration of Manchester’s Civic Quarter, at the core of the regional centre and containing some of its most significant buildings, is pivotal to the next phase of growth of the city centre economy. The last decade has seen the successful delivery of No.1 and No.2 St Peters Square which provide a combined 458,000 sq. ft. of Grade A office space, and Windmill Green, providing further high quality refurbished commercial space. In addition, major infrastructure and public realm investment at St Peter’s Square, significant restoration and refurbishment programmes at Central Library and the Town Hall complex, have been undertaken.
Transformational development continues to be delivered at NOMA, the Co-operative Group’s former estate located at the northern gateway to the city centre. The NOMA neighbourhood provides a mix of commercial and residential development alongside recreational and leisure amenities and new public areas. This builds on the area’s heritage and character as well as providing new, high quality buildings.
Tucked between Castlefield and Deansgate, Spinningfields is one of the largest and most successful recent regeneration projects in the country. This area is a world class business district in addition to a modern hub of premium leisure destinations and a luxury residential offer. Spinningfields has attracted international investment from market leading organisations within the property, retail and professional services industries.
Over the last 12 months, Manchester house prices have increased by 10.53%
With rising tenant demand, which hit a record high since the pandemic, average rents in the UK (excluding London) have hit a new record of £1,126pcm. This is an annual increase of 11.8%!
Savills forecast average growth of 18.4% for North West property prices by 2026.
Projects for the North West
5 years to 2026