For one reason or another, such as the pre-election launch of the Northern Powerhouse or the high profile visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Manchester has received a lot of attention over the last year. In this report we will look at the current state of, and prospects for, the market here.
Background and economy
Greater Manchester comprises the City of Manchester plus nine other metropolitan boroughs - the City of Salford plus Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. The area population is around 2.7m and official forecasts say it will grow to 3m by 2040. The City of Manchester itself is one of the UK's fastest growing cities. The population has grown from 440,000 a decade ago to 520,000 today with forecasts suggesting it will reach 625,000 by 2025.
According to MIDAS, the local inward investment agency, Greater Manchester is the largest functional economic area outside London, generating gross value added (GVA) of £46bn, the third largest of any UK region. Formerly a textile manufacturing powerhouse, today's main economic sectors are financial and professional services (16.6%), manufacturing and engineering (16.1%), health (13%), retail (10.3%), education (8.5%) and creative and digital (7.7%).
A recent report from Oxford Economics paints a broadly positive picture of prospects for growth here. They say 68,000 jobs have been created since 2010 and that Manchester is one of the fastest growing places outside London for jobs in law, finance, management consultancy and advertising. They forecast the economy will grow by 2.6% annually over the next decade and the jobs market will grow by 3.8% by 2020, outpacing many other cities. According to the Centre for Cities 'Cities Outlook 2015' Manchester is the highest ranked city in England outside the southeast for new business start-ups (7th out of 64).