What you need to do to get a £1,000 a month flat in town these days is ‘crazy’

Lines outside rental agents, offers to renovate a landlord’s apartment, and the need for a guarantor for a guarantor are just some of the realities facing downtown tenants. from Manchester.

While competition has always been fierce for a posh apartment – especially in hyper-hip neighborhoods like Ancoats – the spread of demand has now enveloped the whole of the city. And now the rents are skyrocketing.

Council data shows the average monthly cost of a two-bedroom city center property was £1,082 in April. This is 9.8% more than at the end of the previous year.

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The biggest increases have been in Chapel Street West and Oxford Road South, where rent has risen 17.3% over the past year, followed by Piccadilly Basin. Statistics show that the most expensive area in the city center is Deansgate and Spinningfields – where a two-bed house costs an average of £1,272 per month, followed by Owen Street and First Street at £1,237 per month.

Oxford Road North, where an average two-bedroom property costs £1,117 a month, is the only area where prices have fallen in the last quarter. The cheapest area classified as “inner city” is Hulme Park and Birley Fields, where the average two-bed house is £852 a month, but that’s still a 12.6 per cent increase on last year.

For its part, the council launched its housing strategy, which states that the city must build 36,000 new homes over the next 10 years, including 10,000 affordable homes. Following this, the MEN spoke to private tenants about what it’s like to move during a rental boom.

One couple who returned to downtown after living overseas are Joe and Rebekah. They last lived in Manchester in 2019, when they called the southern suburbs home.

“I was ready for it to be a nightmare,” Joe said. “I was afraid it would be difficult to get a visit to a place, and the week before [we came up to do viewings] we had a look, but couldn’t see ahead.”

New Islington Marina, Ancoats, which has been refurbished over the past 10 years

Joe adds that he and his partner found a place to live in Castlefield – but chalked it up to ‘sheer luck’. He continued: “In the end we found a place quickly, but that was luck. The ad went live at 5.59pm on a Saturday and closed on Sunday.

“Rebekah had to stand outside the office door on Monday morning and say ‘hello, we can deposit some money’. It was pretty crazy.

Even then, there were more obstacles to overcome. Joe is self-employed, so he couldn’t prove he had a regular income in the same way as a PAYE employee.

He explained: “The technical details were correct, I had to find a guarantor [as I am freelance]but he also had to find a guarantor, who was his boss.

“It’s expensive where we rent. In the rental situation, I think we have a pretty good deal, but it’s still crazy in the grand scheme of things. When we left Manchester in 2018/19 the amount we pay now would have gotten a luxury condo with a gym or concierge.

Joe and Rebekah’s story of a double guarantor and a wait outside their agents’ office is a sign of how fierce the competition is, but it also affects tenants trying to renew their leases. Among them are Stephanie Taylor and her partner Ben, who also live in Castlefield.

To minimize a proposed rent hike earlier this year, they offered to renovate the apartment they lived in at their own expense. Even though Stephanie is a full-time interior designer, they will still have to pay more.

She explained: “We didn’t want to lose our apartment, so we tried to come to an agreement with the landlord to keep the [rent] raise it down and make it more enjoyable. I am an interior designer.

Castlefield is popular with those who want downtown living and green spaces

“We said we were going to try to restore it and make it better and brighter, add new artwork, as well as repaint major areas and design in signature colors – and keep it the same. rent. [The landlord then said] its costs have also increased. He said it was a good proposition but wanted to raise £50. We asked him if he would contribute to the painting, but he said no.

The £50-a-month increase means the pair are paying slightly less than average for a two-bedroom apartment in the city center at £1,000. Stephanie continued: “We take it on the chin. We made a good deal with what we have. We have two beds, two baths and two balconies, plus parking. It’s £1,000 a month, which I think is pretty good for Manchester.

To fight against soaring rent prices, which can be the first concern of tenants before even thinking about paying for energy and the cost of living, the town hall has created its own development company, This City.

This town will aim to build 500 new homes a year, a fifth of which will be “truly” affordable, with plans in place for early developments in Ancoats and the northern district. The cost of renting many of these new homes will be capped at the local housing benefit level, with the aim of making the new Manchester Living Rent truly affordable for everyone in the city, even those who depend housing allowances.

Gavin White, executive member of Manchester City Council for Housing and Development, hopes the new scheme will increase supply in the housing system, helping to meet rising demand – the driver of today’s high rents today. He said: “Basically, prices go up in any market due to supply and demand. Despite the growth of the rental sector in the city center (and across the city), the rate of supply simply struggles to keep up with demand as the city’s population continues to grow.

“Increasing supply can help stabilize and reduce rental prices. That’s why our new housing strategy will support the construction of 36,000 new homes over the next 10 years to help meet the ever-growing demand for housing in the city.

“And we are also committed to creating new affordable housing in the city centre. 3,000 new social and affordable housing units will be built in the city center alone (10,000 affordable and social housing units across the city) over the next decade, with a mix of shared ownership and rent to buy homes to help people get on the property ladder.

“This is in addition to Manchester Living Rent homes through the Council’s This City home building business and in partnership with the city’s registered suppliers, which will help us build the homes our residents have needed. need.”



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