11 April, 2008 – Crane Survey suggests Manchester is able to weather the economic storm
A survey carried out by Drivers Jonas into the investment and development prospects in Manchester has concluded that the city is well positioned to weather the current economic storm.
John Walley, partner at Drivers Jonas , said the current uncertainty, sparked by the credit crunch in the US, which affected all aspects of the economy, particularly the residential property sector, was being exacerbated by higher raw material and energy costs.
He said: "This is the first time in the last 10 years that there are any questions. The issue is largely financial, and it has had an impact on development and particularly the residential sector."
Mr Walley said that while Manchester could not expect to be immune from national and international factors, the overall picture was far from gloomy.
The headline finding of the Crane Survey Manchester for the first quarter of this year was: "The shockwaves of the credit crunch have triggered unease in the UK’s property markets.
"However, spurred by prospects of strong economic growth in the medium-to-long term, development activity in Manchester is continuing, with some 35 cranes on its city skyline."
The survey found fewer development starts, as a result of uncertainty in the market place. In the last 12 months, works commenced on 19 major projects, compared with 32 development starts in 2006, and the annual average for the last five years of 27.
Mr Walley said that, unlike previous economic downturns, the situation now was more positive because of high levels of employment and relatively low inflation.
Despite the uncertain outlook, his colleague John Adams said there were a `number of reasons to be cheerful’.
He said: "There have been significant changes to property and economic markets, but relative to other cities, while not immune from global factors, Manchester’s resilience will help it maintain its great urban renaissance."
Reasons to be bullish about the city’s prospects included the strength of its knowledge base, the `unprecedented level of public-private partnership’, `exceptional’ civic leadership, public sector investment on bio-medical research, the expected boost to the creative industries which the launch of mediacity:uk and the BBC relocation would bring, and the economic benefits of Manchester Airport.
He said: "These factors really do give Manchester the edge over other cities in the UK."
The report concludes: "At present the Made In Manchester theme is strong, and there is a real sense of passion for the city and confidence in its future, which is especially important at the moment, given that the next 12 to 18 months will be a challenging period for its office and residental markets."
Source: Manchester Evening News