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Fears of pandemic exodus from England’s cities prove unfounded

Exclusive: figures show Covid has not deterred people from moving to Manchester and other city centres

When Covid hit in 2020, it was a nerve-racking time for many urban developers. As gardens – or the countryside – seemed ever more important for locked-down house hunters, some wondered if their half-finished city apartment blocks would ever find residents.

But almost two years into the pandemic, the speculation about “the death of the city” have been proven wrong. Exclusive figures gathered by the Guardian suggest thousands more people are now living in the biggest English city centres since Covid first hit the UK – mostly in flats, often without balconies or outdoor space.

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