‘It’s just crazy’ – People struggle to cope with soaring rents in Manchester city center

Manchester city center continues to be a popular location for people who aspire to live the ‘city life’.

With its vast supply of work, shopping, entertainment and dining, our bustling city is attracting a growing population of millennials year on year.

But with soaring house prices and the constant difficulty of getting on the property ladder, those who want to live in the city center have little or no choice but to rent.

Soaring rental demand in the city has therefore caused rental costs to continue to rise, with no sign of price calm anytime soon.

READ MORE: Northwest area where buyers are “fighting” for homes that leave the market in 24 hours

Manchester was recently ranked among the 10 most expensive cities to rent, according to research by Eachnight.

The average cost for tenants renting a city center apartment is now £969 per month.

For a one-bed apartment the rent is around £863 per month, and for a three-bed apartment the average cost is £1,475.

It’s no surprise, then, that renters are being starved for city center living – and others are smiling and bearing the cost as they have no hope of securing a mortgage.

“We have no way to save for a mortgage”



Tommy King, 24 years old

Tommy King, 24, lives in an apartment in the bustling North with her boyfriend Josh.

The couple originally rented in Salford but decided to move to central Manchester last year for the ‘city lifestyle’.

“We used to have a flat in Salford which cost £875 a month,” Tommy said.

“We moved downtown in November as we wanted to be closer to everything with easier transport links for Josh to get to the office as he doesn’t have a car.

“Our rent is now £1,225. It’s a two bed flat with a private terrace. It’s beautiful and a bargain for the price compared to other flats.”

Although happy with his apartment for now, Tommy fears that if his rent goes up, he’ll be forced to leave town.

“I’m happy with the apartment, but that’s because I know how expensive other apartments are and how small and cramped they are.

“I managed to find a good price for the quality but it’s still way too expensive for our salary. We have no way to save for a mortgage.

“If it were more expensive than today, I would leave the city center and move to the suburbs. It becomes cheaper to have public transport in the city this way.”

“If it continues at this rate, I will be priceless”



Matthew Roper, 25 years old

Matthew Roper, 25, has been a tenant in Manchester since 2018 – and has seen the cost of his flat drop from £850 to £1,400.

After attending Liverpool University, Matthew moved to Didsbury in September 2018 where he rented a two-bed flat with a friend for £850 a month split between them.

Matthew then decided to move to the city just before the pandemic hit in March 2020 so he could walk to work and have quicker access to downtown amenities.

But his two-bed flat which he now shares with his best friend in Greengate costs them £1,400 a month to rent.

“It’s quite frustrating how much my rent has gone up over the years, seeing as I rent as a means to an end,” says Matthew.

“Rent and household bills are going up as I save to try to buy an apartment or a house.

“I was happy to pay more when I moved to Greengate as it was a more upscale building with great facilities.

“Our rent has gone up since we moved here, but you’re kind of stuck with little bargaining power due to market saturation and demand for two-bed apartments in the city.”

Although Matthew thinks he’s getting a “good deal” for the current market, he fears he’ll eventually be kicked out of town.

“No one likes their bills going up, but after a quick look at Rightmove, it quickly becomes apparent how much prices have risen across the board in recent years,” he says.

“It’s crazy how much the price of Manchester has gone up since I moved here in 2018.

“I guess that’s a good sign in terms of Manchester’s desirability – but if it continues at this rate I’ll be priceless.”

Average cost of a one bedroom apartment in Manchester city center Average cost of a bed outside Manchester city center Average cost of a three bed apartment in Manchester city center Average cost of a three bed apartment outside of Manchester city center Total average cost
£863.16 £581.80 £1,475.00 £959.09 £969.76

Unsurprisingly, London took the top spot for the most expensive places to rent, with an average cost of £2,100 and a three-bed apartment costing around £3,261.

Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Reading, Poole, Bristol, Edinburgh and Milton Keynes are also among the most expensive cities in the UK to rent an apartment.

At the other end of the spectrum, Stoke-on-Trent offers tenants the most affordable rent for a flat, with an average cost of £489 per month.

A three-bed in this city only costs around £593 on a monthly average, compared to nearly £1,500 in Manchester.

Bradford, Sunderland, Blackpool, Doncaster, Wigan, Derby, Dundee, Swansea and Aberdeen made up the rest of the top 10 most affordable cities in the UK to rent a flat.

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