Manchester, part of Greater Manchester, is situated in the north-west of England. It is the 2nd city of the country and is a recognised international centre for commerce and culture. The city itself is the 3rd largest in England, with a population of 530,292, and is currently undergoing strong economic growth.
When looking for somewhere to live in Manchester, the first decision is whether to live in the city centre or the outer areas.
The city centre consists mainly of apartments to rent or buy and is much more expensive. The transport links and job opportunities, as well as social life, are what draws people to pay more money and opt to live in the centre.
The outer areas tend to have more houses available than apartments and are the cheaper option, but can sometimes feel cut off from city centre living. If life outside the city centre is the better option for you, it is essential to check transport links. The best option is to be near a tram or a train, especially if you don’t own a car.
Useful transport links:
Central Manchester areas
The city centre is divided into different areas which all have very distinct identities that cater to a variety of tastes and needs.
The Northern Quarter
The Northern Quarter is the bohemian area of Manchester and is famous for its bars, coffee places, live music, and exhibition spaces. It has a strong alternative identity and is a very sought after place to live as it also central and within walking distance to both Victoria and Piccadilly station. The area has recently gained international acclaim in newspapers such as the New York Times.
Prices remain average for Manchester centre, with the possibility of sometimes finding a relative bargain.
Typical locals: arty types in their 20s and 30s
Ancoats and New Islington along with the Northern Quarter make the blossoming northern area of central Manchester. Similar to the Northern Quarter, independent cafes, restaurants and events spaces are the norm here. It is a much younger urban area compared to the Northern Quarter and is at present quieter and more residential.
The tram stop in New Islington goes into Piccadilly train station and serves a large part of Manchester, perfect for commuters.
Prices can be cheaper in this area compared to the Northern Quarter, especially so in New Islington.
Typical locals: a variety of ages, arty types, commuters, some families
Located within spitting distance of Victoria train station and a 10- minute walk into the centre. The Green Quarter is known to be quieter than most areas but does also have its social scene within the area.
The area is perfect for commuters who want easy access to the city and outside areas of Manchester.
Typical locals: a variety of ages, commuters, couples and families
One of the UK’s most loved gay quarters, with a vibrant social scene including music events, bars and clubs which surround the famous canal street. The Village is part of the old industrial centre, has a lot of converted properties and is ideal for someone looking for an apartment and area with character.
Parking can be a problem in this area, but the various public transport links are a real advantage for living so centrally.
Typical locals: professionals and students in their 20s and 30s
A picturesque canal area of Manchester, located in the south-west part of the city and covers a large part of Deansgate. Castlefield boasts iconic red brick bridges, canal walks, converted loft apartment, as well as pubs and a concert space dotted along the canal and its quiet streets. The famous Manchester Science and Industry Museum is also in this area.
An added benefit to living in Castlefield is the proximity to the motorway for commuters and Deansgate and Oxford Road.
Castlefield can be very expensive, but the area is growing, and the previously designated Salford central area behind Castlefield has many apartments that are lower in price.
Typical locals: families, professionals, couples, students
Millennium Quarter was heavily regenerated after the IRA bomb attack in the 1990s. The area includes the cathedral, the Printworks entertainment centre, the Triangle and the Arndale shopping malls. It is also next to the Northern Quarter and very central.
The area can get noisy during the weekend and is always very busy. The prices are on the higher end of average prices in Manchester.
Typical locals: a mix of ages and professions
Oxford Road is a very long road where two large Universities reside and is locally known as the University Quarter. The area attracts a mix of people and is well known for affordable nights out, theatre, live music and events.
The housing is a lot cheaper in this area, especially towards the Rusholme. Fallowfield and Hulme areas parallel to Oxford Road. However only buses serve this area with a train station at the top of Oxford Road only.
Typical locals: students, young people, families
While not technically in the city centre, it is the business district of Manchester. The BBC is just one of the large institutions that moved their offices to MediaCity when it was first created.
Apart from business, there are bars, restaurants, shops and museums, and a theatre all within walking distance.
Prices in this area are as expensive as the city centre. The tram links the area easily to the city centre with an approximate 15-minute commute.
Typical locals: professionals, couples, commuters
Greater Manchester areas
Greater Manchester is the second most populous area in England. The city centre is just one of the many districts of this large urban area. The following residential areas are the most popular, regarding commute, affordability, and social activities:
Salford is one of the closest areas to the city centre of Manchester. The entire area of Salford is still undergoing crucial regeneration, and some areas are best avoided. However, Salford Central is a 5-minute walk away from the city centre, with the same vibe as the city centre. It also has a new bar and café scene, a train station, and is crucially cheaper.
Typical Locals: professionals and students of all ages
Both Didsbury and Chorlton are popular areas in the south of Manchester. They attract locals because of its blend of residential living and its popular restaurant and bar scenes. Didsbury and Chorlton are on the same tram line and take 15 minutes to commute to Manchester. They are also both near to motorways, making it perfect for commuters.
Prices are quickly rising, but you can still find a house for a similar price to an apartment in city centre Manchester.
Typical locals: young couples and families, commuters
Next to Castlefield and home to Manchester United Football ground. While the social life isn't so vivid, and the area is still under ongoing regeneration, it is a more affordable than Manchester's centre and in proximity to motorways and public transport that goes to the city centre.
Typical locals: commuters and families
Types of accommodation in Manchester
Various types of accommodation are available for rent in Manchester's different areas: rooms, apartments and houses. The prices vary according to the accommodation, the number of rooms, and the area.
In the city centre, the average rent for a room can vary from £350-550. A one bedroom apartment is typically between £575-700, and prices start from £700 for a two bedroom apartment.
In the outer areas of the city centre, the prices are lower but do vary per area. For example, South Manchester (i.e. Chorlton, Didsbury) is a more expensive area than North Manchester. Typically, you can rent a house for the same price range (see above) as an apartment in the city centre.
Find accommodation in Manchester
To secure an accommodation that is up to your standards and desire, your reactions have to be swift, and the following proactive steps might be helpful to find a property in Manchester city centre and Greater Manchester.
- Provide all the essential documents required to rent or buy a house
- Set up email notifications and receive on the newest properties available
- Be persistent and search daily on the internet and in agencies
- Ring property contact numbers
- Be an early bird and request the first viewing of the day
- Express your wish to secure the property as soon as you have made up your mind
Expat.com - Housing in Manchester
Short term accommodation
Long term accommodation
Rightmove - Rental property search engine www.rightmove.co.uk
Julie Twist - Property Agency julietwist.co.uk
Urban Splash - Property Agency www.urbansplash.co.uk
Homes 4 U – Property Agency www.homes4u.co.uk
Gumtree - Private renting search for apartment and flat shares www.gumtree.com
Easy Roommate - Flat share search uk.easyroommate.com
Spare Room - Flat share search www.spareroom.co.uk
Flatmate Rooms - Flat share search www.flatmaterooms.co.uk