City living has had a tough time throughout the pandemic. Remote working and the closure of hospitality venues eroded the allure of the city, and the nature of housing demand changed.
In what was dubbed the ‘race for space’, many people moved to larger rural and suburban properties with bigger gardens – a trend evidenced by the 126% rise in enquiries from city residents for rural housing in June and July of 2020 alone.
However, as we emerge from pandemic restrictions, the buzz of city life is returning. Data from Rightmove suggests demand for city centre properties rebounded 28% on average across the country between September 2020 and September 2021. Manchester, in particular, performed strongly, posting a 36% increase. Meanwhile, Savills’ ‘Residential Property Forecast – Winter 2021’ report forecast 18.8% house price growth in the North West over the next five years.
For property investors, the resurgence of demand for city centre properties presents a real opportunity. However, the impact of the pandemic has changed the nature of demand and investors need to factor this into their investment decisions.
In 2022, a strong health and wellbeing offering will be key. Developments that can provide high-quality green space are best positioned to meet evolving demand. With hybrid working now widespread, being able to offer co-working spaces that allow people to separate their working and living space is also important.
That is why, through our flagship High Definition development at MediaCity in Salford, we will be delivering on these demands. High Definition will offer co-working spaces, a podium terrace abridging the two main residential towers and a residents’ lounge. It will do so in a location offering waterfront living and award-winning green spaces as an exemplar of urban living.
As a forward-thinking developer, we are evolving the places we create to deliver aspirational urban homes. For property investors, understanding what the future of city living looks like is crucial too.
Richard Cook is group director of development at Clarion Housing Group and its private development arm Latimer