It is always an interesting morning at the annual Place North West PRS conference, hearing the latest insight on this ever-evolving typology. Manchester’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) market remains buoyant, but there are potential challenges for developers and investors seeing demand for more one bedroom apartments, where the council continue to mandate a minimum of 60% two bedroom in the city centre.
Key this year was the focus on potential customers other than the typical young city graduate or professional, with lots of discussion around families, houses, older people and non-city-centre locations. Pertinent questions were raised about the increase in social isolation for those living in cities, but we see so often the damaging social isolation for older people remaining in unsuitable housing due to lack of appealing alternatives – the feeling of community through well-managed PRS could be one answer.
Viability conversations focused on the values demonstrated in central Manchester and how you might go about developing PRS elsewhere. Stockport and Rochdale got repeated mentions, but all of Greater Manchester’s easily accessible towns may have something to offer in this area, although the developers present were keen to point out that an ambitious and willing local authority is key to realising the opportunities.