Crane survey reveals Manchester emerging as global city

Residential development in Manchester has reached its highest level since 2008 as a raft of new skyscrapers are set to change the landscape of the city centre, according to Deloitte Real Estate’s Manchester Crane Survey.

Some 22 new residential schemes have started construction on site, eight more than the previous high of 14 in 2008.

The annual survey, now in its 16th year, reports 6,963 residential units are currently under construction, compared with the last year’s crane survey of 2,982.
 
Simon Bedford, partner and head of Deloitte Real Estate in the North West, who led the survey with assistant director Melissa Wilson, said: “Our construction pipeline monitors residential development through to 2020 and shows a number of exciting schemes set to evolve the city’s skyline.

“Four towers over 25 storeys high have begun construction, marking a new, exciting era for housing in Manchester. One of which, Owen Street, is set to become the highest residential building in the UK.”

The crane survey identifies the trend for major refurbishment office schemes with eight of the nine new starts being refurbishments. Total office space in the pipeline totals 1.4 million sq ft of floorspace.

This represents a 76% increase on the 10-year average for floorspace under construction.

“The increase in office refurbishment projects comes as developers and landlords maximise the value of their assets in light of a rapidly expanding business community,” continued Bedford.

“12% of this floorspace is pre-let, and we expect strong occupier demand to continue throughout 2017.”

The hotel sector continues to deliver and diversify the tourist offer. Adding to the 338 rooms delivered in 2016, a further 1,040 rooms are currently under construction in the city and expected to complete this year.

The crane survey suggests that 2017 will see the largest delivery of hotel rooms since data collection for this sector started in 2006.

Education-related developments follow a strong period of delivery from 2012 to 2014, which saw approximately 750,000 sq ft of space completed.

This year, approximately 200,000 sq ft started construction in addition to the 289,000 sq ft currently being refurbished.

Bedford said: “For the first time, Manchester can expect to import more graduates than it exports this year, continuing its positive trajectory of talent retention and helping to grow the city-living market.

“The weakening of sterling and boost of international connectivity via Manchester Airport is also set to provide a fertile environment for potential investors, while the universities are likely to continue delivering further schemes in 2017 as part of strategic repositioning and expansion.”

Bedford concluded: “Our latest crane survey results are a reflection of Manchester’s growth and resurgence.

“Construction activity has not just matched those of 2007, it has completely blown those figures out of the water, demonstrating unparalleled scale and volume of development.

“While we cannot be certain how these factors will continue to manifest themselves in the years ahead, there is real cause for optimism and Manchester competing as a global city.”

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