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One Smithfield Flats Back On The Market

But there's pricey strings attached to the Northern Quarter development

Written by . Published on June 3rd 2014.

One Smithfield Flats Back On The Market

APARTMENTS at One Smithfield, the block taking shape in The Northern Quarter at the Swan Street end of High Street, have come back onto the market.

"This leaves developers little time to find genuine buyers and could cause a mini 2007 with a glut of unsold coming to the market all at once that developers need to shift aggressively.”

All 77 apartments were bought by GRE Assets, an investment fund, at the beginning of the year and the scheme has been marketed to buyers in the Middle East.

But it seems there was not enough interest and now floors one, two and three are being sold in the UK through a variety of Buy-to-Let companies, including Modern Living Properties, a subsidiary of GRE.

Prices range from £128,000 for a 452sq ft one bed on the first floor to £194,000 for an 818 sq ft two bed, both have balconies but parking is an extra £20,000.

That’s working out at about £283psqft for the one bed and £237psqft for the two bed – pricier than Potato Wharf at the other end of town in Castlefield.

The bad news for would be buy-to-livers is that you have to have cash.

Because GRE bought the whole tower from the developers MUSE they can only assign contracts to buyers until after completion, something nervy mortgage companies will not currently lend on.

One Smithfield from High Street, Northern QuarterOne Smithfield from High Street, Northern Quarter

So if you do have the readies, you'll have to find a £2,000 reservation fee, 20% on exchange and the full remainder on completion. You could then raise a mortgage on the property. But Modern Living were unclear about how long after completion you would be able to refinance.

It’s a shoddy situation that with such a lack of new stock in the city desirable blocks are sold off to investors only to come back around with strings attached. That the City Council and the HCA were accomplices to the deal does not sit well either.

One experienced city centre investor believes prices are being artificially pushed up by the lack of stock and genuine buyers are being deprived of purchasing at the right price.

He also warned that a cooling of the overseas investment market could have a severe impact here.

He said: “Other companies are still active in this type of activity but with a slowing overseas exit they could get halfway through these schemes and renege on contracts. This leaves developers little time to find genuine buyers and could cause a mini 2007 with a glut of unsold coming to the market all at once that developers need to shift aggressively.”

GRE Assests: One Smithfield Square, Northern Quarter


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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Totally ridiculous given that MCC retains the freehold. You might wish to check your sums in terms of the prices though.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EditorialJune 3rd 2014.

Numbers switched. Thanks.

AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

How is that ridiculous? The alternative being they sell it to an absentee landlord who squeezes the pips out of their investment to the detriment of genuine regeneration in the city and the Council can't do a thing because of national landownership law. Here the Council as freeholder can continue to make a small annual sum from these cruddy units that it can reinvest in the wider neighbourhood- protecting it from the urban neglect often associated with buy-to-let landlords.

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Can get more for your money in BETTER parts of town...

1 Response: Reply To This...
DanJune 28th 2014.


Ghostly TomJune 4th 2014.

It's a pity they didn't stick with the original rainbow coloured balconies instead of using just yellow.

AnonymousJune 4th 2014.

The Homes & Community Agency role in driving this horrible abomination of a building is a disgrace; more so when you consider how they’ve restricted the taxpayer/potential homeowner occupiers from even bidding to buy these “homes” in the first place in favour of foreign absentee landlords who’ll never even set foot on this island let alone provide continued investment in their assets. The Smithfield Project which started with such promise with the Smithfield Market refurbishment has been a protracted development of cheaper and cheaper buildings, wasted public money, a failure to demand investment & refurbishment of the wonderful Mackie Mayor building as part of the Masterplan and the most pointless public square ever.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomJune 4th 2014.

That square is a bit of a wasted opportunity given its prominent position in the N4. And the Mackie Mayor Market is a wonderful building that needs some tlc and a new use...

AnonJune 4th 2014.

How can the council allow developers to sell all units to off-shore investors when first-timers are struggling to buy anyhow? Scandalous when you think about it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

Because the council have no responsibility or power to do anything about it, that's how.

soulman1949June 4th 2014.

Morally totally wrong.

AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

what the fuck, how is this legal?

Poster BoyJune 5th 2014.

Facts before accusations. These are not, and never were 'council flats'.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

I can’t see a comment which suggested they were. The point seems to be that the HCA provided taxpayer-funding to kick start a stymied project for a private company (MUSE Developments) which was subsequent sold off to another private company (specialising in offshore buy-to-let market for foreign investors) without putting them on the open market for individual British taxpayers and potential owner-occupiers to bid for. It seems the HCA are just the new replacement QUANGO for the same corruption and ineptitude which was the NWDA.

Poster BoyJune 5th 2014.

You appear to be confused about the purpose and role of the HCA. Unless you have knowledge as to the precise terms of the lease and delivery contracts between the City Council/Muse/HCA and GRE your opinion is nothing more than ill informed, speculative conjecture.

AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

The HCA's own website describes their role as:"we use our skills and investment in housing and regeneration to meet the needs of local communities; creating new affordable homes and thriving places." This project achieves none of that, but you're right- I'd like more knowledge of the taxpayer cost/benefit model of its relationships between MCC and many of its favoured "investment development partners" like MUSE/ASK/Peel Holdings/CO-OP/Hodder and Simpson.

Poster BoyJune 6th 2014.


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