Urbanbubble Manchester Skyline, Urbanbubble, C Urbanbubble
Property manager Urbanbubble has released its Q3 update for the Manchester rental market. Credit: Urbanbubble

Fewer than 500 flats available to rent in Manchester, says report

Julia Hatmaker

Despite scepticism over the number of new homes being delivered in the city, a report by property manager Urbanbubble shows that the rental market in the central Manchester area is thriving – and breaking records.

Urbanbubble’s report covers Ancoats, Hulme, Ardwick, Strangeways as well as parts of Salford and Trafford – most prominently Central Salford, Old Trafford and Salford Quays. It defines this area as “Manchester”.

Since the start of 2020 more than 9,200 new homes have been built in those areas and most of these residential developments are either at or nearing full occupancy, according to the report. In fact, the report says that only 427 apartments are currently available for rent. It’s the lowest number on record, Urbanbubble said.

Adding to the story of the rental market’s current strength: rents for studio, two- and three-bedroom apartments are at record levels according to the report. Studio and two-bedroom rents increased by 6% over the last three months alone.

The average rent for a studio apartment is £756.90 pcm, an increase of £42.40 pcm over the previous period, according to the report. The average time a rental apartment spent on the market was 45 days. Build-to-rent schemes had even higher average rents, with the average rent of a three-bed apartment listed as £1,999.30 pcm, an improvement of 14% over the previous period.

More than 2,750 lettings occurred in the third quarter of 2021, 10.3% higher than the same period before the pandemic in 2019.

It’s good news for the 16,195 apartments currently under construction in the city and the 1,719 homes submitted for planning permission during the third quarter.

“It’s almost a call to landlords: if you’ve got a spare room or apartment, stick it on,” said Ed Howe, research and insights manager with Urbanbubble – and the author of the report.

Howe said that his research shows that the doomsayers of the area’s rental scene – those who argued there was too much supply coming onto the market – were wrong.

“Everybody thought the market would crash, there would be loads of empty apartments and rents would go to record lows,” Howe said. “But the opposite is happening.”

The report shows “a picture of resilience, strength and record-breaking,” he said.

It also demonstrates an appetite towards moving into the city centre.

”Since the easing of lock-down we have seen a huge spike in demand for high-quality city centre homes,” said Gemma Price, director of residential for Urbanbubble. “We believe this spike originates from pent up demand that has been building throughout lockdown.

“Young professionals are seemingly tired of living out of the city and are returning, in huge numbers, because they want to be near, and involved in, the ‘buzz’ a city has to offer,” she said. “It also appears they want more for their money, more than just a home, customers want a place to socialise, get fit, exercise and entertain.”

Urbanbubble itself is seeing a spike in interest.

“Across our Local Lettings portfolio, a brand of Urbanbubble, we were receiving more than 1000 enquiries per week, hundreds for individual homes, an amount not even the best of us could have predicted,” Price said.

“Our portfolios have gone from having some empty homes, to being fully occupied in a matter of months, leaving us with hundreds of customers looking for the types of homes we manage and let,” she continued. “We are crying out for landlords to bring their investments to us to benefit from our knowledge, obtained through this insights report, and ability to achieve great yields”.

Salboy is seeing similar results, with managing director Simon Ismail reporting that the development company’s recently completed sites are already sold out. Off-plan developments are also “seeing high levels of reservations,” he said.

“People want more from their homes; they need a concierge, places to get their Uber Eats and Amazon deliveries and areas to chat to neighbours and relax,” Ismail said. “They want to live in the middle of things, where life is, and Manchester and Salford are where it’s happening. “

Read the full report.

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The Manchester City Council Community charges are very high so purchasers or renters will have to accept huge monthly payments not including for energy and water costs so let’s see if the properties are fully occupied and they bring in the FULL Council tax to M/C City Council. How will people relying on state benefits be able to live in them especially two and three bedroom properties ?

By Paul griffiths

Call to landlords “if you’ve got a spare room or apartment, stick it on”

I’m sure all the landlords sat on vacant stock wondering what they are supposed to do next will be grateful today

By Valuable advice

@ Paul Griffiths – MCC Council Tax is lower than Salford. They are no higher than any other city as far as I know.

By Anonymous

This report highlights why we need huge developments in the city centre! Why build small to mid size buildings when we could have a glorious skyline of dozens skyscrapers with thousands of flats for young professionals! More supply = lower rent! Imagine the talent and jobs the city would be able to attract if the city remained affordable and had the capacity to sustain a large work force.

The only thing I would like to see more off are balconies, parking spaces and green spaces amongst the clusters of skyscrapers.

By Matt

@Matt – your plan falls down when we bear in mind that developers don’t want rents to fall and so won’t build these dozens of proposed skyscrapers in order to collapse the rental market.

Until we have a housing market that isn’t designed purely for private profit, none of that can happen unfortunately

By Anonymous

@Matt – Couldn’t agree more. Never understand some peoples hate towards sky scrapers. No ones forcing people to live in them. We need to build our cities dense and protect as much of the countryside as possible.

By Bob

Great news and really shows the power of Manchester now especially coming on top of the report on the amount of offices and office take up earlier in the week.

By JohnP

This is in part due to the cladding scandal.

Very few ‘second hand’ apartments have changed hands recently meaning investors have not been able to purchase them with a mortgage.

With people unable to sell, they are staying put as they have no option.

By Resident Eville

This why there can be no Penny pinching with HS2 and 3. If you want to level up the country then Manchester needs to be prioritised for transport links to London.

By Elephant

‘How will people on state benefits live in them?’ Clearly they wouldn’t. Different market, they’d live live somewhere else , somewhere more affordable as they do now.

By Anonymous

I know this has been said on this site before about skyscrapers – once you get past about 10 floors buildings start to get inefficient in terms of carbon, that will find its way to the building code at some point, just saying.

By Rich X

Re Paul Griffiths. There’s plenty of affordable housing within 20 minutes of the city centre. What Manchester needs is people living in the city centre with professional jobs and high disposable incomes. The last thing it needs is more people on benefits.

By Simon Oliver

@Matt I totally agree to your point. I would LOVE to see More and more amazing skyscrapers but more that offer bigger apartment sizes too such as 4 bedroom.

Loving the Manchester skyline progress and hope to see more unique and fantastic high rises. This stuff attracts people these days and will not only bring more people towards Manchester but boost the tourist economy.

By Anonymous