3 Hardman Square was sold in early 2015 for £91.7m

CBRE: Manchester property investments tops £8bn in last decade

Manchester is the city outside of London which has attracted the highest level of commercial property investment over the past 10 years, according to CBRE.

As part of a new report published today, ‘Core Cities, Core Strengths’, CBRE showed that Manchester secured £8.2bn of commercial property investment, out of £44bn for regional cities nationally, putting it ahead of Birmingham at £6.5bn and Glasgow at £5.3bn. Liverpool recorded an investment of £2.1bn.

Manchester also performed better than Birmingham on a per capita basis, though both were beaten by Glasgow and Leeds and four smaller cities Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Bristol in this per capita ranking.

The report identified the key factors behind a city’s success as civic leadership, talent in growing sectors, quality of life and placemaking, and infrastructure, and provided a detailed review of the main city property markets outside London. It also includes softer indicators such as the number of five star hotels or Michelin star restaurants.

In total, the regions beyond London and the South East account for almost 60% of all UK commercial real estate transactions. The findings show that investors have diversified their property holdings as part of the recent economic recovery with emerging investment sectors such as healthcare and student housing increasing their share of the market. Prior to the financial crisis, these assets accounted for 3% of investment; this has trebled to around 10% of total investment volumes today.

A decade of investment: total investment volumes in commercial real estate, selected cities (£m) 2006-2015 Q3, ranked by total investment

  Office Industrial Retail Other Total investment
Manchester 3,939 357 2,579 1,360 8,235
Birmingham 3,383 541 1,621 1,018 6,563
Glasgow 2,163 371 2,131 612 5,277
Edinburgh 2,365 91 1,391 1,041 4,888
Leeds 1,593 322 1,242 588 3,745
Bristol 1,899 501 906 261 3,567
Aberdeen 1,309 603 359 406 2,677
Sheffield 408 182 1,798 285 2,673
Liverpool 563 333 994 278 2,168
Cardiff 734 201 724 235 1,894
Nottingham 281 194 608 364 1,447
Southampton 253 202 644 202 1,301
TOTAL 18,890 3,898 14,997 6,650 44,435


Overseas investment into the regions has also reached its highest level since 2007, with the first nine months of 2015 seeing twice as much investment as in the whole of 2013.

Colin Thomasson, executive director at CBRE Manchester, said: “Over the last 10 years, Manchester has established itself as a major European city of commerce attracting investment from all over the world. The city boasts unrivalled transport infrastructure, world renowned universities and cultural and sporting facilities which are the envy of the rest of the UK.

“Manchester is set for an exciting time in the years ahead which can only be further strengthened by the recent announcements in respect of the Northern Powerhouse and devolution.”

To download the report, please visit www.cbre.co.uk/corecities

Large transactions from the last decade include the sale of the Manchester Arena by Development Securities, now U+I, and Patron Capital, to Mansford Real Estate for £82.1m in 2013, 3 Hardman Square to M&G Real Estate by Credit Suisse for £91.7m in 2015, and the sale of Two St Peter’s Square sold by Fred Done for £100m to Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management.

Your Comments

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Given all the favour and investment that has been ploughed into Manchester over the past decade (and then some) I should certainly hope it’s at the top of the table.

By Mike

Had other cities received the same level of investment and interest from government that Manchester has, I’m sure they would have performed just as strongly too.

By Mike

The plan has worked.Now everyone is at Manchester’s throat whilst London is still getting 80% of the infrastructure investment.This was presumably the intention from Westminster all along.

By Elephant

If government has a favoured city it is unquestionably Merseyside. It has received vastly more regeneration funding from every domestic and European programme going than anywhere else over the last 80 years. This is to be expected however since it is relatively more deprived.

Nevertheless, given such largesse it is surprising that Liverpool isn’t doing better.

By Light not heat

Oh good, another Manchester v Liverpool slanging match

By Imperator

Light not heat – you posted exactly the same controversial comment on another article the other day. Stop stirring bother with your Copy + Paste please.

By Uni

Uni, surely it’s Mike who’s stirring bother with that nonsense?

By Shak

That’s some performance, only Birmingham is anywhere near competing, I can see Leeds doing well in the future. it’s certainly capable of offering an alternative to Manchester in many sectors and has a better skills base than anywhere outside of the big two.

By York Street

Agree with Uni. Liverpool and Manchester should support each other, we’re all in the one region and we’ll all benefit from if both cities are successful.


Where exactly did Uni say that?

By Clarks

We need to be careful of all these stats.. depends how you define cities, travel to work, urban areas etc. Centre for Cities definitions give Manchester a huge advantage over Liverpool for example just by how they define the Manchester area versus the Liverpool area. Liverpool’s area joins with Deeside for example through the Wirral, but this is excluded, ignoring the Mersey/Dee Alliance, and even some of Liverpool’s suburbs get left out. These differing urban geographies need to be taken account of. European EPSON methods, based on a common approach across Europe takes account of these different geographies and has Liverpool and Manchester covering not dissimilar populations/economic areas.
The north west as a whole could really thrive with a prosperous Liverpool AND Manchester but balance between the two cities should be respected despite their rivalries.


Cities are economic entities pure and simple (agglomerations of people and businesses) but the economic links between and within them are very complex, historically determined patterns. Liverpool and Manchester may cover similar areas but Liverpool is nowhere near as dominant within its region as Manchester is within its. In this respect, Liverpool sits at the centre of a more multi-polar ‘greater merseyside’ economy whereas Greater Manchester is much more mono-centric.

It is true that the north west would benefit greatly from two powerful prosperous cities but that requires both cities to play to their strengths. Do that and private investment, as the article shows, will follow.


These stats would appear to be carefully chosen/manipulated to reinforce an agenda of Manchester dominance. The retail figures for example are misleading and questionable. Yes, the cities should play to their strengths, but Manchester’s current strength in the office market should not be seen as Liverpool’s permanent weakness and north west policy ‘think tanks’ should be wary of suggesting this. Liverpool/Merseyside is less multi polar than Manchester at its core, a radius of at least 12 miles, only beyond that area, at Deeside for example does it become more complicated. And cities are not just economic they are social. If these forums are aimed at promoting Manchester as the North West’s only major city then ‘Place’ should rename itself ‘Place Greater Manchester’ and be honest about it.


Oh dear PAB. After a previously sensible contribution you’ve lapsed into imaginary conspiracy theories and ‘agendas’ whereas what I’m talking about are real, observable and measurable effects. These effects (the interaction between employment and labour markets; and trading links between businesses themselves) show that Manchester is much more dominant within its hinterland than Liverpool is within its. Greater Mancheter is much more mono centric and ‘city-like’ in its functioning than Merseyside.

It should be no surprise therefore that private investment is that much greater in GM.


The North West has received much greater assistance than other regions.
The 2016 Government Regional Infrastructure Investment allocation for the North West is an extraordinary 3 times that allocated to the West Midlands.
This has been going on for years.
Manchester actually boasts it has more motorways than any other city in the UK including London. I’m not surprised – they’ve been built with Birmingham’s infrastructure money.

By Ghengis