Investor Guide: Manchester Rental Market

Manchester ship Canal at Salford

Investor Guide: Manchester Rental Market

 Your buy-to-let property guide to the areas and tenant profiles in Manchester. 

Learn about forecasted rents, void periods and what factors matter to tenants in 2022. 

Church in UK

Operating as one of the largest UK regional economies, second only to London, it’s no surprise that Manchester is a highly sought-after buy-to-let property market. 

The city became the world’s first industrialised metropolis during the 19th century and today has established a diverse and state-of-the-art economic base, attractive enough to draw in the likes of Google, HSBC and the BBC. 

Having cemented its reputation as the economic epicentre of the Northern Powerhouse, both global and regional talent has moved to Manchester in droves. The number of residents has grown from 851,780 in 2000 to 1,060,300 in 2021, with Oxford Economics forecasting it reach 1,136,280 residents by 2035.  

All of whom need somewhere to live. 

Classic Houses in the UK

With the exceptional growth levels in population, housing supply has struggled to keep up with demand resulting in just 34% of the housing needs fulfilled over the past 9 years. These factors combined form a robust economic foundation for the investment case for Manchester’s residential real estate.  

But not all opportunities are created equal. And there are factors which make certain properties more successful investments than others. So, what exactly are tenants looking for and how can you improve your yield? 

Read on to learn about the most popular buy-to-let investment locations in Manchester and what tenants and features you need to consider for each. 

Manchester Rental Market Overview 

As one of the most diverse cities in the UK, it’s no surprise that Manchester’s buy-to-let opportunities reflect that. Greater Manchester operates as a metropolitan county of 10 boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, the City of Manchester, the City of Salford, Trafford, and Wigan. There are options to suit all budgets spread over several locations linked to the various employment hubs. You can find the home of creatives in MediaCityUK to the west, whilst slightly to the north is NOMA – housing Amazon, Deloitte and other large-scale corporations. Students congregate further south next to the award-winning universities, and anything further out is exceptionally well connected via the largest tram network in the UK. 

Buy-to-Let landlords continue to capitalise on the strength of the rental market in Manchester, as yields far outstrip London and South England. In city centre locations, the yields are typically lower while more affordable apartments are located in areas experiencing regeneration, where you’ll find stronger yields. Manchester is the third most-visited city in the UK so short-term lets are an option in developments where freeholders provide approval and can significantly increase the yield, however they are more volatile so be cautious of your risk profile before opting for that avenue.    

Below are some of the most popular areas for investment in Manchester: 

Salford Quays (M50) 

Salford Quays Bridge night view

Salford Quays boomed as a manufacturing hub during the industrial revolution. Today, having experienced significant regeneration, its better known as the home of MediaCityUK and offers a skyline of high-rise apartment blocks housing innovators and creative minds. 

Centred around a waterfront public realm area twice the size of London’s Trafalgar Square, MediaCityUK has become a destination in its own right, attracting many London-based businesses such as BBC, ITV Studios, and SIS LIVE. The area of Salford Quays now has the UK’s fastest-growing cyber ecosystem and attracts highly skilled talent from across the globe. 

Having already seen £650 million of investment into developing the area, it will further benefit from another £1 billion in private investment, set to double the size of MediaCityUK. The masterplan is also to include the UK’s largest private-rented sector to meet the area’s enormous rental demand. The region is currently experiencing a boom and holds significant economic potential. MediaCityUK is solely responsible for 8,000 jobs with up to 30,000 people employed across the wider area of Salford Quays, with expectations for this to increase to 60,000 jobs by 2040.  

Tenant Profile 

It is no surprise to buy-to-let investors that the most common tenant in this region would be a 30+ professional working in the Creative, Digital and Technology sectors. The average salary would typically be over £40,000 and you’d find strongest rental demand for one-bedroom / two-bedroom units. Sometimes the tenants would be couples but frequently they live alone. 

Housing Market 

The average sale price according to Zoopla over the past 5 years aggregating 112 apartments in Salford Quays was £216,846 (April 2022). 


Avg asking price  Avg rental yield  Sales per month  Avg sold £/sqft 
£218,465  6.1%  5  £309 


 Development Case Study: Rivergate in Salford Quays 

  • Launched in 2016, completed same year 
  • Units: 20 one-beds, 125 two-beds, 19 three-beds 
  • Price Range at Launch: GBP158,000 to GBP365,000  
  • Size Range: 488 – 1,034 sq ft 
  • Estimated Rental Yield: Up to 5.48% 

101 Units under Complete Ltd’s management 

  • 11-month current average tenancy term 
  • 5.45% current average rental yield  
  • 5% average rental increase since completion 


Old Trafford (M16) 

Old Trafford Aerial View

Trafford sits west of Manchester and covers the areas of Altrincham, Sale and Stretford. 

It is considered Manchester City Region’s largest hub of business and enterprise with the highest number of companies per capita. The area is also renowned for its leisure activities with sporting at the forefront.  

Home to Manchester United’s Football Stadium and Lancashire County Cricket Club, Trafford sees plenty of foot traffic from around the country for major national events. A burgeoning bar and food scene is also prominent in the area, where young professionals congregate after a day’s work. 

Trafford also offers excellent inter-connectivity. Manchester airport, the UK’s second-largest, is just a 10-minute drive away with direct flights to commercial centres both in the UK and across the globe. Locally, it is also well connected through an extensive rail network and light rail tram which will soon connect to the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network. 

Tenant Profile 

As the area is considered up-and-coming, your tenants in Trafford would be in lower income job roles when compared to neighbouring Salford Quays. Typically, you’re looking at a tenant in their early twenties earning between £20,000 and £25,000 a year. Generally, the most popular units are one-bed and two-bed apartments. 

Housing Market

Avg asking price  Avg rental yield  Sales per month  Avg sold £/sqft 
£237,647  4.6%  15  £274 


Development Case Study: No1 Trafford Wharf in Old Trafford 

  • Launched in 2018, completed in 2021 
  • Units launched: 52 one-beds, 121 two-beds 
  • Price Range 
  • One-beds: GBP149,000 – GBP200,000 
  • Two-beds: GBP210,000 – GBP275,000 
  • Size Range: 437 to 761 sqft 
  • Estimated Rental Yield: Up to 5.8% 

72 Units under Complete Ltd’s management 

  • 11.7-month current average tenancy term 
  • 5.16% current average rental yield  


Manchester City Centre and Chorlton-on-Medlock (M1 & M13) 

Manchester City Centre view


Naturally, demand for rental property around Manchester city centre is high making it a popular option for buy-to-let investors, but yields are lower than in the regions of Trafford and Salford Quays. However, when you venture slightly south to the area along Oxford Road in Chorlton-on-Medlock, you’ll find strong-yielding purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and student flats (HMOs) feeding into the two prestigious universities and several colleges located in the area.  

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is when an apartment is inhabited by several tenants who each have their own tenancy agreements with the landlord. Turnover is typically quite high resulting in a lot more administration for the landlord, but it also comes with a much stronger yield and softer void periods as the whole apartment is not dependant on a single tenant. 

Manchester has one of the largest student populations in Europe with more than 100,000 students at any given time. It also has one of the largest volumes of international students at 26,000 and a graduate retention rate of 51%, second only to London in the UK.  

The area is experiencing significant regeneration around the universities, one notable project being a GBP750 million mixed-used development scheme called Circle Square. The 2.4 million sq ft project is set to be completed in three phases, with No.1 Circle and No.2 Circle finished in 2020. It will consist of 1.2 million sq ft of workspace, 1,700 new homes and over 100,000 sq ft of retail, leisure space, restaurants, bars, and cafes centred around Symphony Park. This vast new park, the first in the city for a generation, will host a variety of community and cultural events celebrating the city’s dynamic and creative community for residents and visitors alike. 

Tenant Profile 

Investors in Chorlton-on-Medlock are highly likely looking at students living in their buy-to-let apartments. PBSA has become particularly popular as students place more value on the social element of attached leisure facilities such as study areas, gyms and games rooms. The Circle Square development’s PBSA section, for example, offers weekly events (such as career workshops and sporting activities), movie rooms, creative spaces and private dining rooms for their student tenants. 

Your standard tenant in this area would be aged 18 to 25 with high-net-worth parents who act as guarantors and cover the living costs during the course of study. Safety is an important consideration in selecting accommodation for students too, particularly if they’re international. The strongest demand is for one-, two- and three-bedroom units and the tenancy agreement is almost always one tenant pays per room. 

Housing Market 

According to Zoopla the average apartment in M13 sells for £122,500, in M1 it’s £217,764. 


Avg asking price  Avg rental yield  Sales per month  Avg sold £/sqft 
£259,099  5.2%  12  £321 



Avg asking price  Avg rental yield  Sales per month  Avg sold £/sqft 
£228,519  5.7%  5  £207 


Development Case Study: The Assembly in Cambridge Street, Manchester 

  • Launched in 2015, completed in 2016 
  • Units: 282 one-beds, two-beds & three-beds 
  • Launch Price: Starting from GBP183,000 
  • Size Range: 543 – 1,009 sq ft 
  • Estimated Rental Yield: Up to 6% 

93 Units under Complete Ltd’s management 

  • 11.5-month current average tenancy term 
  • 6% current average rental yield  
  • 8% average rental increase since completion 

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