Manchester's and the wider North West's property market is showing signs of resilience amid the gloomy global outlook, according to DTZ head of research Dr Paul Sanderson.
Addressing DTZ's annual Property Debate in a packed ballroom at the Lowry hotel this morning, Sanderson said prime Manchester office rental growth would remain stable this year at around 1% compared to a 25% mark down in London City.
He said the focus was now switching from the health of the investment market to occupiers to ensure take-up remained on track. DTZ's recent half-year report found that Manchester city centre is currently on track for an above average take-up of 1m sq ft.
Sanderson's thoughts were echoed by Bruce Poizer, head of investment at DTZ in Manchester. Poizer said: "We are still seeing foreign investment activity, proven out by Credit Suisse's deal at Spinningfields and the large funding interest in Liverpool."
Interest was coming from German, Danish and South African funds among others, Poizer added.
Colin Sinclair, chief executive of MIDAS, Manchester's inward investment agent, added: "The downturn is a good thing for Manchester, we can show our competitive edge and our resilience -we are a big established city now. For us there are massive opportunities and we have more leads now than when I joined two and a half years ago."
Sinclair said not one but two global banks were eyeing a move to Manchester in the short term. One is rumoured to be JP Morgan under the codename Operation Bluebird, which he declined to comment on. He said another four or five have medium to long term interest in coming.
Also on the panel, chaired by Michael Taylor, editor of Insider, were Phil Basten, head of property finance at The Co-Operative Bank, and Simon Carter, senior planning partner, Aaron & Partners LLP.