Since the recovery of the construction industry in 2014 across Manchester and Salford, the year-on-year growth in residential development activity has been well-documented by the Crane Survey. Increasing and fluctuating activity across all other areas of development have also been recorded. The regional centre was arguably one of the first areas outside of London where construction activity recovered following the economic downturn of 2008. Since then, it has led the way.
The continued level of activity is impressive given the challenges presented by prevailing economic headwinds during this period. Overall, it highlights a resilient regional economy. Following the latest challenges presented by lockdowns, we’re now seeing trends settle and have a better understanding of what the ‘new normal’ looks like. Our Crane Survey explores these trends in detail and frames development activity recorded against sustainability objectives.
The residential market activity since 2014 has mainly focused on the delivery of high-density build-to-rent properties in the regional centre. Data continues to show demand in terms of available stock (JLL, 2022), as well as a continued market supply through at least 10,000 homes under construction per annum since 2017 (max. of 14,480 in 2018).
Salford City centre has seen the largest share of development - 13,578 homes have been completed since 2014. 2,632 homes in Great Jackson Street and 2,760 homes in Ancoats and New Islington have also been very active. 18,970 new homes, or 82% of the total supply since 2014, have completed between these three areas alone. While year-on-year completions reduced in 2022, the number of new starts in this area of the market show no signs of slowing down.
According to the 2021 Census data, Manchester’s population is estimated to have grown by 9.7% from 503,100 in 2011 to 552,000 in 2021. Salford saw an even greater uplift with a population increase of 15.4%. Population growth in both areas is higher than the proportional increase for England (6.6%). The results were also slightly skewed by the Census being conducted during a year affected by COVID-19 with students, in particular, temporarily moving out of both City Centres to live with immediate family members.
Based on the current rates of construction and occupation of residential development, a further 20,000 people may relocate to the Crane Survey area over the next three years. Local housing targets suggest this rate of growth will continue to 2035 with a diversifying stock and we’ve explored what this may look like moving forward.
Construction of office space tends to fluctuate in two-year cycles rather than year-on-year growth, with between 300,000 sq. ft (2014) and 2 million sq. ft (2019) under construction in any given year. Despite people continuing to work from home, the market signals from this year’s Crane Survey are positive with regards to office construction levels and take up.
High-quality spaces are in demand to deliver the best employee experience and differentiate firms in the employment market. During 2022, six offices were delivered while seven office schemes remained under construction across Manchester and Salford at year end. New builds provide most of the market activity with 95% of 1.7m sq. ft under construction and 5% of space being constructed through refurbishments. We’ve analysed this activity in the lens of ESG ambition and legislative changes.
68% of the 700,000 sq. ft of total space brought to market during 2022 is located within the St John’s area and is predominantly pre-let. It is one example of Manchester’s global competitiveness in the tech sector, with tenants such as global media giant WPP and Booking.com choosing to put down roots and base their headquarters in this city. This commercial development in Enterprise City at St. John’s is coupled with residential development through Vita and leisure development through Manchester City Council at Factory.
Take up remains strong in locations such as NOMA, Circle Square, Embankment and the Civic quarter. Salboy, Bruntwood, Muse and Ask remain very active in the office market. Overall, the commercial office market has recorded five new starts across both the City Core and the Southern Arc, which is being driven by the relocation of both multi-national businesses and government departments into these areas.
Tourism and hospitality
Whilst it is not a region that has struggled to attract tourism, the growth in the area’s popularity as a destination has been palpable during this current growth cycle and demonstrated by multiple tourism accolades. Over 1,504 hotel rooms have been delivered in 2022 alone and they continue to come forward across the broad spectrum of hotel market offerings. 33 hotels have been delivered since 2015 to highlight this, which equates to 5,948 new hotel rooms within the Crane Survey area across boutique offers, international brands, and aparthotels.
This popularity is driven by the excellent existing and future tourism credentials of the city through football, live music, cultural events, museums, galleries, and retail, including an ever-improving food and drink scene. Although this sector has experienced significant challenges due to COVID-19, it is also the bedrock of why the city region has been able to recover so quickly. This is coupled with significant improvements in the quality of the new and existing public spaces in the city, typified by the exemplary new Mayfield Park that opened to much acclaim in September 2022.
A summary of all data across all development sectors can be accessed using the interactive map and charts section below, allowing you to explore all development projects, their location and what this means in terms of overall development activity.
You may notice a different feel to our Crane Survey context this year. Our narrative examines how all this development has contributed toward the delivery of a sustainable 21st century urban area, and what more is needed to realise that ambition.