22nd September 2020
What is the outlook for Stockport’s residential property market?
Over the past couple of decades, a lack of money has been invested in property and the infrastructure in and around Stockport town centre. However, more recently there has been a significant change, with both public and private developments visible in and around the town centre.
There are high-spec office spaces available; the Merseyway Shopping Centre has undergone a major facelift, and there are plans to extend the Manchester Metrolink into Stockport and redevelop the bus station to create a new, modern transport interchange in the future.
All in all, the prospects for Stockport’s commercial property sector looks good; but to really drive the town centre development forward, you need to do more than just create places to work, shop and relax. You need to encourage people to live there.
Like so many cities, and town centres, up and down the country – Stockport has developed from the mid-1900s onwards to fit with, what we can now see is a deeply flawed model of urban planning. The idea was to have people living out in the suburbs, and commuting into the urban centres to work and relax. The problem is that visitors heading into a commercial centre from outside will spend only a fraction of what they would if they lived in the centre and had all the available amenities on their doorstep.
Currently, the centre of Stockport has virtually no residential space available. However, we are starting to see signs of change, with the first major residential developments in decades underway. Lots of old commercial and industrial space is primed for change of use, to residential. As things get moving, we can expect to see a snowball effect.
The extension of the tram is likely to be a major catalyst for the development of Stockport. It makes sense for all sorts of reasons, and there is even the infrastructure left over from the old Tiviot Dale railway line, which closed in 1967, to make the job easier.
From the perspective of the residential property market, the tram’s impact will establish another convenient commuter link to Manchester City Centre. However, arguably more important is the fact that it will connect Stockport Town Centre to prosperous residential areas which would be just a few stops on the tram. For example, Didsbury Village is well established as an affluent and desirable residential area in south Manchester. People are queuing up to live there, but the cost of properties makes this an impossibility for most people looking to buy a house, particularly first time buyers.
With a potential tram link into Stockport, the town centre might just start to look like an attractive alternative to get on the property ladder. Would-be homeowners can still enjoy all the amenities of established residential areas in the area, which would be a few minutes away by tram, but save tens of thousands in a deposit to purchase a home. A residential market in the centre of Stockport will in turn trigger further growth and development, as cafes, restaurants and bars will be needed to service this residential sector.
Give people a reason to live there – attractive house prices, the convenience of a tram link to other residential areas, and soon you will have a captive market spending their money in Stockport Town Centre once more, driving demand for more amenities, more businesses, more development.
Stockport, and particularly its centre, has had to live in the shadow of neighbouring suburbs for too long. Residential development is key to reviving its fortunes, and the signs are that it could be a market about to take off.
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