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Published on : May 4, 2021 10:00

Article 4 in Greater Manchester – Where can I invest in HMOs?

Over recent years, the demand for rooms to let across Greater Manchester has been staggering. Catering to this demand as a property investor has seen many property investment strategies include HMOs (Houses Of Multiple Occupation). Article 4 is a piece of legislation. However, that affects large parts of the city centre and Greater Manchester as a whole. In this guide, we will take a look at Article 4 in Greater Manchester and where investors can buy and operate HMO properties.

The developments in and around Manchester city centre have created many employment opportunities over recent years.

A prime example is the impact created by MediaCityUK in Salford. The arrival of the BBC in the region led to an exodus of employees in London, creating new jobs in the North West and leading many southern employees to relocate up to Manchester.

The growing demand in Manchester has seen the city named the best buy-to-let location for investors.

Manchester has always been popular for students, hosting three universities, each drawing in students from across the globe.

As one of the largest student cities in the country, paired with a vast expansion in employment opportunities, the target markets for HMOs are also looking towards Manchester.

Finding affordable, hassle-free accommodation as quickly as possible has become a greater priority for these demographics.

The Manchester HMO sector has seen an influx of investors look towards the region to begin building their HMO portfolios alongside their current individual buy-to-let properties. This also includes brand new investors, who plan to make their mark with their first HMO.

The returns on HMO properties speak for themselves (providing you are compliant with regulations and source the ideal tenants for your rooms). But whilst investors may be attracted by the numbers, one particular hurdle can make investing in Manchester’s HMO market difficult. Article 4.

What is Article 4?

Article 4 is a regulation that constricts planning developments. It cripples certain areas of Manchester and property investors when applying to convert standard properties into HMOs, in addition to applying for a license to operate one.

Where there is already a considerable stock of HMO properties, Article 4 has been implemented to prevent the areas from turning into waves of multiple occupancy properties.

Successful property investment is a long-term strategy, and this can be time-consuming. At Edward Mellor, we know how precious time is to you. Therefore, we want to make sure none is wasted and that you invest in the right areas without battling the difficulty of Article 4.

Where are the Article 4 areas in Greater Manchester?

As an investor looking to expand your portfolio (or even build one from scratch) in Greater Manchester, you need to be aware of the following Article 4 areas:

  • Manchester city centre and Strangeways
  • Cheetham Hill District Centre
  • Central Park North
  • Hexagon Tower, Crumpsall
  • Parkway, Whalley Range
  • Chorlton District Centre
  • Mauldeth House and 550 Mauldeth Road West, Chorlton Park
  • Towers Business Park, Didsbury East
  • Christie Fields and Siemens, Chorlton Park
  • Jobcentre Plus, Palatine Road, Didsbury West
  • Roundthorn and Oaks Business Parks
  •  Sharston Industrial Estate
  •  Wythenshawe Town Centre
  •  Airport City North
  •  Atlas and Concorde Business Parks and Styal Road commercial area 
  • Leigh Town Centre
  •  Wigan Town Centre
  •  Salford

Where are the best places to invest in HMO?

The best areas to invest in are high catchment areas for working professionals, commuters, and students who don’t mind being a little further afield from the city centre but still within easy accessibility of their educational facilities and workplaces.

On the face of it, Salford may entice lots of investors from further afield.

With MediaCityUK having brought a wealth of employment opportunities from other areas of the country up to the North West, HMOs in Salford are ideal for working professionals looking for a hassle-free base here in Manchester to work from.

In addition, the University of Salford has an extensive student catchment, which is guaranteed to attract a large portion of prospective tenants.

However, the drawback to investing in a Salford HMO comes to competition. The area has become over-saturated, with over 400 room adverts in the area alone on SpareRoom at any given time (keep in mind there will be individual rooms under each listing as well!). Article 4 also cripples the vast majority of the area, so starting afresh will be difficult unless you already have a property in the area.

As an investor, you need to be looking to areas that feature some components. These include:

  • Less competition, but still high demand.
  • Accessibility for tenants, particularly great transport links.
  • Nearby employment opportunities or planned developments.

Areas such as Tameside are situated far enough from the city centre not to be impacted by Article 4, yet offer excellent transport links. Stockport is another superb example. Not only can the city centre be reached in under ten minutes on the train, but it also gives direct links to Manchester Airport, and London in under two hours. This is ideal for those happy to commute to the capital whilst benefiting from the lower living costs.

Both areas are subject to ongoing redevelopment and new investments, increasing the demand for rooms to let.

On a larger investment strategy scale, location is only one of the determining factors to running a successful HMO portfolio. There are a variety of components to consider when carrying out due diligence in HMO investing. This can be equally time-consuming for first-time and seasoned investors, particularly if this is your first occasion of investing in Manchester.

If you would like more details on carrying out due diligence when sourcing and investing in HMOs, or for the best advice on HMO management, get in touch or give us a call on 0161 820 6638.

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