Manchester, 21st March 2017. Felicity Young, +44 (0)20 7087 5108 Residential properties in Manchester City Centre are selling an average of 70% quicker than in 2016, due to rising numbers of first-time buyers and investors, according to leading property agent JLL. JLL says it is taking an average of just nine days from when a city centre property it is marketing is placed on the market, to a final offer being agreed and conveyancers instructed, down from an average of 30 days in 2016. The agency has completed £4.5m worth of sales since the start of the year at schemes like Nuovo and Castlegate. It says the step change in speed is being driven by a high proportion of first-time buyers and private investors attracted by Manchester’s buoyant rental sector, which means there are fewer ‘chains’ holding back transactions. Of the homes sold by the team in 2017 so far, only one has been bought at less than its asking price. Louise Emmott, residential director at JLL, said: "The new year often acts as a time of change for people, so we expect to see the residential market heat up around this time, but the step-change in transaction speeds which we’ve seen over the past few weeks is unprecedented. "The fact that most sales are being agreed at or above the asking-price is a further sign of the huge demand in the city centre market both from owner occupiers and investors looking to capitalise on rising rent prices as city centre living continues to grow in popularity." JLL’s residential team is marketing 300 one, two and three bedroom apartments at the new St John’s Quarter development in addition to homes across the city centre. The team has also been appointed to market homes at the One Cambridge Street development near Oxford Road for rent and is managing LaSalle Investment Management’s Greengate PRS scheme. According to recent research from JLL’s residential team, the average price of a two bedroom flat in the city centre (£230,000) is due to increase by seven per cent in 2017 and 28.2 per cent by 2021. Its forecasts say rents will grow simultaneously – by 20.5 per cent in the next five years.