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The key to transforming skylines

Realistic optimism, combined with a drive to lend and build, can unlock the city horizons of the future – just take Manchester as an example, writes Elliot Vure of Together. 

If you were to show a picture of the current skyline to a Mancunian back in 1974,  they would never believe it was the same place. 

Then, the grittiness of the Northern city, built on industry and manufacturing, was set to breed a new generation of music; from the buzz of the Buzzcocks to the joylessness of Joy Division. Alongside this, there were echoes of a city crying out for change and development; with pockets of disuse and decline, abandoned stations, and old housing blocks sitting along aged streets, whilst demolition of classic, crumbling buildings took place. 

Fast forward fifty years and the regeneration of modern Manchester is a remarkable sight. Whilst many areas still eagerly await transformation and investment, Manchester, the UK’s third largest city, has a population growing faster than the national average and stands as an international destination for thriving talent, tech, business, and art.


Glowing with ever-increasing infrastructure investment, a famous nightlife renaissance and some of the tallest structures outside of the capital, modern Manchester even attracts luxury global fashion brands, who utilise the streets as a backdrop to showcase the modern Manchester vibe. 

And this story isn’t unique, skylines across the UK continue to evolve. 

The role of property developers and lenders 

Critical to such change has been the vision and fortitude of property developers and lenders who have seized the opportunity to regenerate and redevelop – from residential to commercial – creating a dynamic landscape that is prosperous and vibrant. 

As a specialist property lender, Together has been on this journey too. From humble beginnings in a Northern factory in 1974 to holding a £6.6bn loan book in 2024. 

With a commonsense approach to lending, Together has played a proud part in the UK’s property growth story, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with entrepreneurs and innovators to make finance work and turn property ambitions into reality. 

Our latest research report, Opportunities and Outlook: the future of commercial property, works with our customers and broker partners to keep a finger on the pulse of the market and continually support the UK in opening the doors to new opportunities.  

The report includes expert commentary and a national survey of 500 UK property professionals, providing insight into today’s market and tomorrow’s trends that will impact landlords, investors, and developers in the year ahead. 

Optimism continues nationally 

Our findings include: 

  • 31% of professional landlords, property investors, and developers expect to buy more properties over the next 12 months
  • 59% of landlords plan to increase rent across their portfolios over the coming year
  • The commercial property market size is estimated to increase from £90bn in 2023 to £118bn in 2028. That’s a 32% predicted rise in total secured lending

Although 10% of respondents admitted reservations about the outlook of their business in 2024, a much larger percentage (68%) reported feeling optimistic, with a quarter planning to refinance their properties to support business objectives in the next year. 

Our research also shows that while 44% of respondents are de-risking and shrinking portfolios or exiting the market altogether (14%), the majority are committed to increasing their estate now that inflation has returned to below 5%. 

Taking advantage of specialist finance 

Together’s report reveals a real need for landlords, investors, and developers to take full advantage of specialist finance, for invaluable support at a time when many mainstream lenders’ appetite lessens, and criteria tightens. 

Our research found that 42% of respondents said they would prioritise using a specialist lender rather than a mainstream one in the next 12 months if they require additional financing for commercial property cases. The top three reasons for choosing specialist lenders are: 

  • They are prepared to take greater risks, grant larger loans, and support entrepreneurial plans (39%)
  • They are the fastest method of securing funding (29%)
  • They provide the best level of service (29%)

Building a new horizon 

Overall, our market research reveals a level of optimism for the future of commercial property. The changing skylines of the UK, including Manchester, can only continue to flourish if the right foundations are laid for new opportunities. It is clear that this year, property professionals and lenders need to be partners as they look to the opportunities on the changing horizon.

• Elliot Vure is the director of corporate sales at Together.


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