Manchester City Centre

In a recent survey, Manchester has once again been named the best UK city to live in the United Kingdom, once again ranking ahead of London.

In 2014 Manchester was ranked as the 51st best city to live in, ahead of London in 55th position.

This year’s results show continued improvement. Manchester has performed even better, climbing the ladder to 46th, whilst London climbs to 53rd position.

The source of this report comes from the Economist’s Intelligence Unit and rates cities out of a possible score of 100 in the areas of environment and infrastructure, education, health care, stability and culture.

City Tourism chiefs express no surprise whatsoever in seeing Manchester so highly placed, the city speaks for itself based on the evidence of huge positive changes helping to make life here significantly richer.

The country wearing the crown, once again is Australia, with Melbourne in first position with a best rating of 97.5. This is normal practice for the city as this is the 5th time in a row they have dominated.

A​ndrew Stokes, chief executive at Marketing Manchester, said: “For those of us who live and work here, it comes as no surprise to hear that Manchester has once again been listed amongst the world’s most liveable cities and, indeed, the highest ranking city in the UK.

“Manchester has been on an upward trajectory for the best part of two decades now and wherever you look – be it science, transport, culture, property, investment – there is evidence of huge positive change helping to make life here significantly richer.”

He added: “We’ve got award-winning museums and galleries, a packed calendar of theatre and cultural events, a burgeoning food and drink sector and first class sporting institutions like Manchester United and Manchester City throwing a global spotlight on to the city each weekend.

“Combine this with rapidly improving infrastructure and fantastic investment and careers opportunities and you have the making of a very exciting place to live.”​


Nicholas Thompson, Managing Director of Fairmont Spencer commented.

“Fairmont Spencer are seeing an increased demand for clients moving to Manchester from all corners of the globe. The ease of living and the opportunities that Manchester offers, makes the North West of the UK a credible alternative to London.”


Over the weekend of the 27th June 2015, Nicholas Thompson led a Fairmont Spencer team of 7 to climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in aid of the Christie Cancer Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester.  We tackled Ben Nevis first, then Scafell Pike and finally conquered Mount Snowdon.3 PeaksBeginning at 5pm on the Sunday afternoon, the team tackled the 3 Peaks challenge, walking a total of 26 horizontal miles, climbed through 3000m and drove over 440 miles between the peaks, raising upwards of £1500 in the process. The weather generally treated us well, apart from the snow, ice and very poor visibility we found awaiting us at the top of Ben Nevis.

The monies raised went to the famous Manchester Based Christie Hospital who carry out great works, alongside the NHS in the field of cancer care.

Nicholas Thompson, Managing Director of Fairmont Spencer said it was such an achievement for the team to complete the challenge, and raise funds for such a worthwhile cause. One of our team had recently been touched by Cancer, so raising funds for the Christie was that much more personal for us.

The challenge was completed within the 24 hour target and I was really pleased with the way in which we all rallied around together. Looking back the training we all put in was invaluable, but as with all things, looking back, a few more hours on the Moors of Lancashire would not have gone amiss.

We are already planning for next year’s expedition which will probably be along the same lines, but with a few extra twists to make it even more challenging. We are currently thinking of undertaking the 5 Peaks Challenge in 36 hours which encompasses the Yorkshire 3 Peaks followed by Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon.




A recent report on housing, commissioned and delivered by the IMLA, has revealed that on average, homeowners now only move house every 23 years. Getting that property purchase right, is now more important than ever.

This means that only 4.5% of the housing stock of the UK changes hands each year. 30 years ago, 12% of the housing stock changed hands each year, which equated to a property move every 8 years.

The IMLA report suggests that this low housing turnover is driven by a combination of factors. People buying their first homes later; the market having a substantial amount of property held within the private rented sector where turnover is lower; and by the baby boomer ‘hoarding effect’ where middle-aged homeowners are staying put, tying up a large parts of the housing stock.

The IMLA’s analysis also shows the estimated contribution of mortgage finance to the total value of UK housing transactions. Last year, an all time low of 41.7 per cent last year was hit. It means just £4.17 of every £10 spent on house purchases in 2014 was funded by mortgages while cash or equity made up the remainder. The IMLA expects the estimated contribution of cash (including deposits and cash purchases) to housing transactions will exceed 60% for the first time on record by 2016.

Nicholas Thompson of Fairmont Spencer suggests that this increasing move towards equity purchasing will only widen the gap between those on the property ladder, and those seeking to join for the first time. The importance of correctly selecting a new property, more so than ever is vitally important. Figures for making a buying decision on whether to buy a property are just short of one hour, the same time taken when deciding on which car to purchase.

Fairmont Spencer’s property search service is able to assist buyers by offering advice and guidance throughout the purchase process.

For further information please visit



Tonight we’ll witness the most significant debate yet between the UK’s largest political parties with the May 7th General Election fast approaching. But what affect will the looming general election have on the residential housing market in the UK?

Traditionally the housing market would pause in the run up to the general election and decisions to buy or sell were sometimes dependent on who would come to power.

The economic environment currently is most favourable to house purchaser. We sit in a low interest rate  environment which does not look like changing soon and we have a significant supply demand imbalance.

The property manifestos of the main political parties do not have significant differences. Although labour wishes to help the lower end of the market as is traditionally their position.

T he UK buyer is wealthier than ever and overseas investors are looking to buy up to the £2million mark.  Demand at the top end of the market has waned of late as the changes to the stamp duty thresholds kick in.

Despite the above, there is still a definite ‘wait and see’ attitude in the market. The underlying demand will remain, whoever holds the keys to number 10 Downing Street. Transactions will slow down and mortgage approvals will fall, but the underlying valuations will not change. Rightmove suggests that average prices across the UK in 2015 will rise by a sustainable 4.8%.

What may change however is the residential investment market.  Popular areas such as Manchester regularly figure in the UK’s top locations to invest and indeed almost 1 in 4 properties in Manchester are purchased with investment in mind.

Dependent on the election results, the rental market could see some changes. The Conservatives are in favour of a light touch approach to regulating Landlords. If the current pension changes come into effect, the residential property market will see a boom in those wishing to invest their pensions in vehicles that should offer capital growth and the flexibility of a regular rental income.






Nicholas Thompson discusses some of the exciting new hotel openings scheduled to hit the city soon:

Manchester City Centre has one of the largest hotel pipelines in Western Europe. With an already wonderful choice available in the city, the numbers are due to shoot up to 15,000 within 3 years time. To put that into context, by same time, the other major population centres in the UK will sleep less. Birmingham and Edinburgh will sleep 12,000 per night, followed by Glasgow with 8,000 rooms and Liverpool with 7,500.

The sector is already booming but the key to a great city is the type of property the city is attracting. There are more rooms coming on line covering both the budget end of the market to the top end and plush hotels.

Tourism is on the up, with more and more flag ship events being hosted by the city. Coupled with the fact that the existing operators are refurbishing their existing stock, means that the future is bright.

A selection of the new Manchester hotel openings include:

Hotel Gotham

A 66 bedroom hotel is situated in an old bank on the fashionable King Street. It’s mission statement is to become one of the ‘one of the sexiest hotels in Europe’.

The hotel will feature a plush restaurant called “Honey” on the 6th floor and a private members club on the 7th Floor. Hotel Gotham is destined to become only Manchester’s second 5 Star Hotel.

King Street Townhouse

Located within the Upper King Street conservation area of the city centre, the King Street Townhouse is due to open in summer 2015.

The Grade II listed building, dating back to 1864, is currently undergoing redevelopment by the proprietors of Eclectic Hotels.

The King Street Townhouse will feature 40 bedrooms and suites with a Tavern Bar and restaurant.

There will also be a rooftop infinity spa pool, treatment rooms and gym along with

Hotel Football

Standing in the shadow of Old Trafford the £24 million hotel comes courtesy of 2 of Manchester’s favourite personalities, ex Manchester United team mates, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. The pair have opened the hotel to deal with the demand for rooms near the football ground.

Facilities will include up to 140 rooms, a restaurant and football pitch situated on the roof.

Motel  One

One of a chain of over 50 throughout Europe, due to open in the summer of summer 2015 Motel One features 330 bedrooms a receptions, restaurant and bar.

Whether you are travelling to the city on holiday or just to scope out the city before deciding to relocate to Manchester, you will be assured of finding a stylish hotel to lay your head in comfort.




Next month, the Government’s shake-up of the UK’s pension system will comes into effect. You may be familiar with these changes, however, according to research by Prudential, up to one in three people due to retire this year are unaware of the upcoming changes. We thought it would be useful to provide a brief outline of these developments and how they might affect you and your pension.

The Changes
From next month, individuals with pensions will be given more flexibility with how they access their pensions upon retiring. Previously, you could take just 25% of the pension pot as a tax free lump sum and then with the remainder buy an annuity which gives a fixed income for life.

The new changes mean that those entering retirement can access the whole of the pension pot in one go.

So let’s say you have a £100,000 pension pot. You will still be able to take up to £25,000 (25%) as a tax-free lump sum, but you will then have the following options:
• Take out the remaining £75,000 immediately, or in lump sums, and pay income tax at your marginal rate – 20%, 40% or 45%.
• Buy an annuity with the £75,000.
• Leave the £75,000 invested and draw as much or as little as you want in income.
• Buy an annuity with part of your savings, leave the rest invested, or take it out your fund and spend it.

The Property Market
Property experts anticipate that the housing market will see a boost as a result of landlords choosing to use their pension fund to invest in property. According to research carried out by Direct Line for Business, some 32% of people aged 45 to 64 with a pension would consider investing in a buy to let as an alternative to the traditional pension plan. The rental income then becomes your pension income, often giving a higher yield than traditional annuities.

Investing in property has proved to be a generally secure and appreciating asset which can be passed onto your family upon death. Some forms of annuity mean that the pension payments cease when the recipient died so the value of the pension pot can be lost should you die within a few years of retiring.

Fairmont Spencer Property Search
When buying for investment, a calculated criteria is required. Whether you are investing for capital appreciation of income, our team will work with you on your detailed brief to source the best available property via the open market and also off market properties. Should you then require it, we can open up to you our extensive property network covering all aspects of the buying, to property management and maintenance, offering you a one stop shop.

For further information please visit us at



Nicholas Thompson and George Osborne

Fairmont Spencer’s Managing Director, Nicholas Thompson, joins George Osborne at a Downton Abbey themed Conservative Party Fundraiser.

Halloween night saw the great and the good of the Tatton Constituency join together with Mr and Mrs Julian Fellows to raise funds for the Conservative Party’s fighting fund for the upcoming general election.

The event was accommodated at the prestigious Mere Golf Resort and Spa. The Cheshire event was hosted by Mrs Patti Goddard, Chairman of the Tatton Conservative Association.

Introduced by the Right Honourable Mr George Osborne, the main event of the night was a humorous question and answer session between Lord and Lady Fellowes. Filled with bonhomie and stories of the popular ITV show, the speeches and dancing lasted well into the night.

On completion of the speeches, an auction was held to raise funds for the party war chest. Amongst the auction lots were prints signed by the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher.



Manchester Christmas Markets


With just over 2 weeks to go until the opening of the iconic Manchester Christmas Markets, the weather is decidedly more early September than late October. It is a great time to be working in the city as the buzz of anticipation gradually begins to build. Already the largest Christmas Markets in Europe, more stalls are set to open up on Market Street and Cathedral Gardens this year.

Spreading festive glad tidings from the 14th November to the 21st December, this year’s 16th season, ever increasing in size, showcases just how far Manchester has come in those intervening years. Last year, influential travel website, voted the Manchester Markets into number 1 position, beating established favourites, such as Dusseldorf, Krakow and Basle.

At the beginning, the markets opened in 1988 to a muted response. The weather was unseasonably warm, and only a small number of stalls opened in St Ann’s square.

How things have changed, and now, Manchester is now Europe’s 22nd largest commercial city area, but holds the largest Christmas market. This year 300 stalls will showcasing their festive products from 9 separate areas, all within a short walk from each other within the city.

Christmas Fayre includes the famous continental beers and sausages to handmade jewellery and home ware. This year, the organisers are expecting these records to be beaten as the new Manchester tram network opens up bringing in people into the centre.

Last year’s market saw over nine million visitors, 100,000 of those visiting during the opening 2 days and in turn generating over £90 million pounds for the local economy. This was swelled by many international visitors.

The rise of Manchester as a city to relocate to increases in popularity year on year. Manchester is certainly not shy about self promoting itself as a destination for tourism and business. This is backed up by the rise in numbers of individuals and businesses wishing to relocate to Manchester.

Who knows how things will develop over the coming years, but whispers of another 70 stalls on new site on Piccadilly Gardens for next year would not surprise.












Manchester has once again climbed up the league of the top 20 European cities in which to do business – whilst London remains at the top of the tree.

In their annual report, Property consultancy firm, Cushman & Wakefield have unveiled their updated report in the form of the European Cities Monitor Report (ECM).

The report shows Manchester, the newly confirmed UK’s second city, leapfrogging over rival Birmingham in the process. Manchester has jumped from 16th position in the table to 12th in the new rankings.

The ECM survey report is based on responses to interviews with over 500 of the most senior European business executives from Europe’s largest companies. The report shows just a flavour of what occupiers think about the city in which their companies are based, representing the increasing move to Manchester of International Businesses.

Only this week, a delegation of Manchester’s leading business has been in Beijing introducing the Greater Manchester Investment Portfolio showcasing the city to bring investors to Manchester to collaborate in the fast growing property market.

Nicholas Thompson, Managing Director of Fairmont Spencer noted.

“With the ever developing Manchester infrastructure, and the appetite for companies moving their operations to Manchester, I can only see the demand for space increasing as more companies turn their attention towards relocating to Manchester.

London, Paris are still comfortably ahead of the nearest challengers, but the full list of Europe’s top 20 cities in which to do business can be seen below.

1. London

2. Paris

3. Frankfurt

4. Brussels

5. Barcelona

6. Amsterdam

7. Berlin

8. Madrid

9. Munich

10. Dusseldorf

11. Milan

12. Manchester

13. Zurich

14. Geneva

15. Hamburg

16. Stockholm

17. Lisbon

18. Birmingham

19. Lyon

20. Dublin





Scientific Relocation

Manchester has been officially named the European City of Science for 2016.

This accolade is just one of many received by Manchester in recent years. The honour will last for 2 years culminating in Europe’s largest scientific conference, the ESOF or the European Science Open Forum – in Summer 2016. The ESOF is held once every two years and is dedicated to European scientific research and innovation, and was recently hosted in the Summer 2014 in Copenhagen.  Acting as yet another injection for the health of Manchester, the event in the summer of 2016 hopes to attract circa 4,500 visiting delegates to the North West and generating £8.3m for the Manchester economy.  Among the many guests will be world technological leaders and scientific pioneers.

The pedigree of science and innovation in Manchester is rich, from the work of John Dalton on atomic theory to the first programmable computer and the recent discovery of the advanced material, Graphene. This new material, Graphene is said to boast better strength than steel and better conductivity than copper. There are many exciting innovations coming from the UK’s first industrial powerhouse, with Manchester making large strides in many new exciting areas of innovation. There has never been a more exciting time.

The new European funded scientific incubator centre on Oxford Road is nurturing new innovations in acoustics, artificial intelligence and smart textiles.

Nicholas Thompson, Managing Director of Fairmont Spencer stated:

“This event is well deserved for the City of Manchester. For over 10 years now, the City has been pro active in bringing new companies to Manchester, from the scientific community as well as many other sectors.  Among the Top 20 Best European Cities in which to do business, we can only see more demand for relocation services to Manchester and the North West of the UK”.