House prices and rents are increasing in Manchester City Centre, as more properties are being bought by international buyers. This is putting families with a lower income at a disadvantage as they are unable to afford these properties.
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese defended this issue, saying: “Money is international, so working with good partners who are in it for the long haul is clearly a way of helping us build places and build communities.”
However, it has been claimed that this makes young buyers more vulnerable. “Prices are only going up at the moment”, says Sam Evans from Manchester. “I think it is a difficult place for a young person to buy. There is a lot of uncertainty from a young person’s perspective. Developers do want to sell to the highest bidder and that’s often not young people.”
Manchester has been described by Deloitte as one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, with properties selling three times faster than London. Over 15,000 houses are being built, but with limited affordability. Many worry that Manchester will become like London, whereby people with average salaries will no longer be able to live anywhere central.
BBC Inside Out North West identified that 48 out of One Smithfield Square’s 77 apartments are owned by international buyers from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. 24 are owned by companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. 20 apartments are owned by British property companies, and the remaining 9 are owned by the people who live in them.
Dr Jonathan Silver, from the University of Sheffield, argues that homes for Mancunians are being “turned into assets and security boxes for off-shore wealth.” Silver postulates that, without affordable housing, “shop assistants, nurses, teacher and many other workers will be unable to access housing in central Manchester.”