Is PBSA the answer to Manchester’s inner city housing shortages?

Demand for residential property in Manchester’s city centre continues to rise at impressive rates. The vibrant culture, ever-expanding career opportunities and a diverse population has made the city one of the most desirable places to live in the UK.

As a result, new large-scale residential schemes are coming forward almost every week.

In September alone, planning approval was granted for a 4,800 new home Victoria North development on the edge of the city centre, Select Property secured funding for a 477-apartment scheme in the Northern Quarter, and Latimer completed a 106-apartment development in Islington Warf.

Despite the volume of new residential schemes coming forward, supply isn’t keeping pace with demand and rents across the city are rising at above average levels.

Research from JLL found that Manchester rents have grown by a staggering 20% over the last year – compared to a national rise of 14%. One of the main reasons for this is the volume of students taking up residential units.

The role of PBSA

The student population in Manchester, like other cities, keeps growing. So much so that there’s an acute lack of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) available.

A study by CBRE found that just 4,745 student beds have been delivered in Manchester since 2018, yet the need for PBSA has grown by 8,100 full-time students in that time.

This is having a knock-on impact on the rest of the residential markets, taking up much-needed homes off the market and away from people wanting to live in the city centre.

Of course, the lack of PBSA development isn’t down to a lack of trying from developers. Complex planning legislation, general nimbyism towards student accommodation, affordability concerns and the viability of schemes in the current economic climate, have all impacted the delivery of PBSA.

Despite these challenges, there continues to be a huge opportunity for PBSA developers across Manchester. And there’s support from Manchester City Council too, which identified that around 750 new beds must be delivered every year to keep pace with the growing student population.

Engaging with funders

The result of this demand is increased appetite from investors, seeking to capitalise on this potentially high yield corner of the real estate market.

This opportunity for investment means there’s never been a better time for PBSA developers across Manchester to review their communications strategies to ensure they’re effectively engaging with funders. Key to this is making sure your audience understands your business’ vision and mission.

A clear communications plan, that builds awareness of your brand through consistent engagement with your audience, will ensure your business remains front and centre in your audience’s mind and they understand the potential long-term returns involved with backing PBSA development.


The scope for PBSA schemes in Manchester is vast and, with the right communications strategy, there’s ample opportunity for developers to capitalise on it.

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