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The UK’s largest open Build To Rent development is going after graduates pitching ‘pay to stay’ with a twist.

Grainger plc hopes its Clippers Quay scheme in Manchester means graduates who studied in the city feel at home – while offering a nationally applicable solution to the need for key worker housing.

Manchester currently retains 51% of its graduates but lags behind London, which keeps 77% of graduates.

Grainger’s going after the mid-market, with apartments affordable to young professionals and key workers sharing, requiring an average annual household income of £27,000.

Prices for a one-bed apartment start at £900pcm.

And apartments are let on a ‘stay as long as you want’ policy, with optional long-term tenancies.

With 614 homes over five blocks, Clippers Quay is the biggest purpose-built rental housing scheme of its kind in the country outside of London.

Grainger says the £27,000 threshold – calculated at rent taking up no more than a third of a person’s annual income – makes an apartment at Clippers Quay affordable to sharers on a graduate salary of £20,870 in Manchester, according to the Centre for Cities.

They are also within reach for teachers and nurses, who start on c. £22,000, and are looking to share with a friend or partner, Grainger says.

“For many key workers in the public sector or young professionals who have just graduated, a good-quality rental home close to work can often feel out of reach financially, pushing them to live further and further out, which harms productivity by forcing people into longer and longer commutes,” said Grainger chief executive Helen Gordon.