Manchester construction hits record heights

Residential construction is at record levels in Manchester, and there’s also momentum in the building of office space around the city.

The city’s skyline features dozens of cranes, a fact underlined by Deloitte’s new Regional Crane Survey. It reveals that nearly 14,500 residential units were being built in Manchester in 2018, 30% up on 2017 and double the amount recorded just two years earlier. Altogether, there are 78 sites currently being built in the city

At 2,659, the number of units actually completed and delivered in the city was the highest number recorded since 2006. Deloitte report that the trend for Manchester is that the number of homes finished in the next three years will outstrip the previous 10 put together. They also anticipate that 2020 will see the highest rate of delivery since the crane survey began in 1999.

Office construction surge

Taking a deeper dive into the Manchester survey further reveals how residential and office construction is on the up. The number of projects started in 2018 was up to 44, 12 more than the previous year, with three-quarters of the new starts dedicated to either offices or homes.

The 13 new office developments that got under way last year total over 2 million sq. ft, which reflects the demand in the city where the take-up of office space reached a record level of 1.75 million sq. ft in 2018.

Deloitte survey

Deloitte and HMRC led the way, while Amazon also announced they would be moving into the 89,000 sq. ft office at Hanover House. Significantly, a quarter of Manchester’s office developments in 2018 were pre-let.

‘Manchester outstrips US cities’

“If Manchester had featured in the recently published North American Crane Index, it would have ranked number two – behind Toronto but in front of Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago,” said Simon Bedford, partner and regional head at Deloitte Real Estate.

“That might have seemed like a remarkable stat a few years ago given Manchester only had one crane in the sky in 2011, but today the figure is a massive 78 sites under construction.”

Leeds and Birmingham also on the up

The number of cranes in the sky is not just limited to Manchester, with Leeds and Birmingham also enjoying building booms. There are 5,000 residential units being built in ‘the second city’, and the 1,262 delivered last year were the most in 17 years. Major projects like HS2 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games ensure that demand in Birmingham will only increase.

Leeds saw ground broken on a record-breaking 21 projects last year, the most since 2002, and there are just over 2,100 units currently being built.

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