LiveLead Blog


Kylla • 7th Aug 2019

The property market across Manchester could benefit improvements to infrastructure, retaining talent and an abundance of new green space, according to an executive director at CBRE. Colin Thomasson has also spoken to Insider about the "huge amount" of capital available and why the city could be in line for a boost.

Thomasson has 25 years of experience in executing major real estate transactions in both the UK and US.

During his time at CBRE, he has worked on Airport City, The Towers in Manchester, Albert Dock and Everton FC's new stadium.

From a regional context, Thomasson believes Manchester "sits above every other city".

"A whole range of things play into that, such as connectivity, education establishments, infrastructure, and the quality of talent – there's plenty," he told Insider. "All those critical things have helped grow its reputation.

"That now is showing itself in the number of companies that're choosing to locate in Manchester. We've seen a whole host of big corporate names. Investors have deployed huge amounts of capital in the city and will continue to do so."

Thomasson also noted that improvements could be made, particularly with infrastructure.

"It's well-known and a well-debated subject at senior leadership level but there has to be considerable investment," he said.

"From an investor perspective, education is also critical. We need a strong system to create the talent base that then becomes the employee base. Manchester Met, Manufacturer University and Salford University have all radically improved the offer already.

"Greenspace is an issue too. When you travel to major European cities, they're more lovable in that respect. There's more of it. With the amount of residential accommodation that's being built in Manchester, we need to think about how to incorporate that.

"You'd struggle to find an oasis of greenery in the city centre."

Over the next six months, Thomasson believes there is "not a huge pipeline of activity".

"There's a more conservative view being taken in terms of deploying, buying and selling assets," he said. "There'll be some but there's a sense of wanting a resolution to the wider situation.

"What happens with us is we move into areas where there are things happening. This year has been slow for commercial developments in the city centre so we've moved towards BTR and regeneration schemes. We're seeing stuff happen in Bolton, Bury, Chester, Oldham and Preston; there's a real drive for local authorities to bring projects forward."

Looking further ahead, he added: "There's a huge amount of capital still available to invest in the real estate market. Of that, there's no question. It could come from the US, Canada, Asia or the UK – all corners.

"As and when investments pick up, Manchester would likely be prime location. It'll certainly be a beneficiary."

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