The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on Manchester property development, but developers of office space in Manchester are optimistic.
Tim Heatley, a property developer, remembers walking around a deserted Manchester city centre six months ago during the height of the lockdown. He told The Guardian:
“I was really scared, thinking: is everybody just going to abandon the city? It felt so empty and I was thinking, well, why would you want to be here? What has it got to offer?”
Half a year later, and Heatley is more optimistic. He lost several million pounds caused by construction delays, but sales are buoyant. He says that developers whose offices were tight on space have lost out, as the current office demand is for large spaces both inside and outside, which makes social distancing easier.
There is also a high demand for residential property in Manchester from people working in the city. Property company Zoopla says that rental property demand in Manchester is five times greater than the available properties. The city centre population is currently around 72,000, and this is expected to rise to 100,000 within the next five years.
Office working may have changed with more people remote working, but the demand for office space in Manchester is expected to rise with more companies desiring offices in the city.
There may be further restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, but commercial property companies are confident that workers will eventually reoccupy Manchester offices.