Located in West Yorkshire, Leeds is one of the largest and most centrally located cities in the UK. Thriving economic prospects, combined with a high demand for living space from potential tenants, make this northern city an optimum location for Leeds property investment. There are many valuable reasons to invest in Leeds, such as capital growth and the rising rates of rental yields that are obtainable. Market demand for Leeds property has reached new heights due to a surge in the population. More graduates than ever are choosing to reside in the city upon the completion of their studies. Consequently, leading employers are flocking to the city to take advantage of this influx of new talent.
As the UK’s second largest economy and second biggest financial sector, Leeds city region is a hotspot for financial and professional services and has been coined the Financial Centre for Excellence by UK Trade & Investment, helping to establish the financial sector of the city, as well as neighbouring cities such as Bradford, Halifax and York.
The city region contributes the most GVA from financial and professional services in the country outside of London, with its strengths residing within banking, law, insurance and financial technologies. Approximately £4.5 billion is being generated year upon year, with predictions for substantial growth in future.
Leeds City Region is recognised as an emerging global economic powerhouse. It welcomes over 109,000 companies and more than 30 national and international banks employing over 13,000 people. It generates 5% of England’s total economic output of £60.5 billion. Leeds has an economy that is bigger than nine European countries.
New builds and refurbishment projects are transforming the region for the better and are reflecting how the changing nature of work and the expectations of employees are shaping the future space. The nature of the workplace is changing from traditional models to an inclusive innovative and collaborative approach with luxurious amenities, built both inside and out, providing the perfect place to socialise, relax and host meetings and events. Furthermore, this is evident in new schemes across Leeds that are working to revitalise old buildings into high spec office space.
Luxury fashion house Burberry announced its intention to relocate to Leeds back in 2016 and to bring with it 300 jobs. One year later, Leeds city region welcomes the luxury fashion brand with open arms, providing a base for over 400 staff, 100 more than originally planned.
Situated on Kings Street in the city centre, the firm will echo the strengths within the financial industry by bringing staff from HR, procurement, customer service, IT and finance, taking over four floors in their new building. Boosting the city centre office market, Burberry’s signing pushes grade A rents to £30 per square foot just before Leeds is set to embark on a record year for office take up, despite the uncertainty and general caution in the market since the EU referendum result.
Leeds has seen a staggering increase in employment with 6.1% growth in private sector jobs recorded from 2014 to 2015. An additional 25,000 jobs are forecasted to be created over the next decade.
Leeds is renowned for its world-class digital facilities. Becoming one of the UK’s most elite digital hubs has been achieved through momentous hard work and determination as Leeds has continued to push the boundaries, paving the way for its relentless success.
Leeds’ technology sector is projected to create 4,000 more jobs in the city region over the next ten years, with recruitment for digital roles forecast to rise by 15%. In a 2017 report by Tech Nation, tech clusters outside of London were observed but it was Leeds that was reported as possessing a notably booming market with salaries rising by more than 25% over the last five years.
The digital GVA for Leeds is £668 million, and the city was home to 314 new start-ups in just 2017 alone with 23,734 digital jobs and an average salary of £50,041 within the technology industry.
High demand and low supply is the catalyst for Leeds property investment with high rents and capital appreciation found across the city. The student market and the volume of young professionals moving to Leeds or remaining in the area after graduation means the demand for housing is high. This is fantastic news for landlords, investors and developers as the yields from rental income are similarly high. Homeowners and those embarking on their first property venture will benefit as house prices in Leeds are set to steadily increase over the forthcoming years.
A report from IP Global states that Leeds is struggling to meet the demands for property. 90,000 new homes are needed by 2021 but there is a shortfall as only 60,000 are in the pipeline, boosting prices in Leeds with the city already proving one of the best investments by rising 4% over the last year alone.
Hamish Pound, the head of investment at IP Global said,
“We advise investors to focus on supply and demand because an imbalance here is likely to provide the greatest gains.”
The Centre for Cities report has discovered that the city centre population has increased at seven times the rate of London in recent decades, along with a 34% rise in employment. Leeds saw the second highest growth in England, sitting just below Manchester with the population growing 151% adding to the supply and demand equation in Leeds buy to let.
Leeds has long been recognised as a thriving cosmopolitan city. Therefore, Leeds property investment stands as a compelling proposition. The unparalleled opportunities offer great potential for strong capital growth, particularly as the city is gearing up for its year as European Capital of Culture 2023. Initially, the hopes of the campaign were dashed as the United Kingdom’s eligibility to participate became uncertain due to the Brexit referendum. Strong Leeds investment and a multitude of planned events had been promised to the city, strengthening its reputation and global appeal. However, Leeds revealed they have all intentions of continuing the energy and momentum created by their European Capital of Culture bid. The £35 million programme will include yearlong celebrations celebrating the city’s culture, with a vision of creating a meaningful legacy across the city and for the people who live there.
Exuding opulence through its theatres in the heart of the city, Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House were built in 1878 and stand strong as archaic buildings hosting performances of the country’s finest. The first performance was a Shakespearian classic Much Ado About Nothing on 18th November 1878, but since then have displayed hundreds of shows including Opera North, Northern Ballet, Sister Act, Shrek and Wicked.
Guilded mosaics, bold marble and intricate ironwork are the many features of the historic arcades within the city. The Victorian Quarter is one of the most opulent of them all and can be found under the biggest stained-glass roof in Britain, oozing with character and standing strong as a significant tourist spot. Increasing levels of tourism within the city sparks major opportunity for Leeds property investment as the influx in population and visitors push up demands for suitable housing across the city.
Discovering a world of modern art is easily achieved in Leeds, The Henry Moore Institute is a one of a kind gallery showcasing some of the world’s greatest sculptures. A host of inspiring exhibitions work tirelessly to hold on to their established reputation as well as having the strongest collections of British sculpture in the country with over 800 objects and 400 works on paper. Home to one of the UK’s oldest cinemas, Hyde Park Picture House opened during World War I and began showing news bulletins, war footage and morale-boosting dramas.
There are plenty of regeneration opportunities in Leeds. Throughout recent years investment in traditional forms such as road and rail has helped to enhance the city through the creation of local jobs and supporting local businesses by driving growth.
Numerous initiatives, such as the Leeds Digital Festival and other digital enterprise schemes help growth-focused businesses scale up and achieve digital transformation. These are fantastic examples of how the city is supporting local growth through the encouragement of developing new business ventures across the city, helping establish a more attractive place to live through the emerging talent.
The development of the new high-speed rail network planned across the UK will lay the foundations for crucial advancements within the existing infrastructure. A major service depot in Leeds is set to provide a catalyst for the city’s economy, attracting a larger demographic to the city as the expansive plans maximise its appeal to commuters, presenting a healthier opportunity for investment.
Determined and ambitious schemes such as the Northern Powerhouse are injecting investment into the city’s existing infrastructure. Reports show that the economy of Leeds grew faster than London since the scheme was launched at the end of June 2014.
“The city’s urban renaissance has brought opportunities for people living across the city and its surrounding areas, and it is vital that it continues”,
Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities CEO.
Opportunity for development in Leeds is substantial and Leeds South Bank represents one of the largest and most exciting city regeneration initiatives in the country as estimates have suggested that this area alone could produce over 4,000 homes across the city, which is central for Leeds buy to let.
Aire Valley also provides significant investment opportunities with more than 400 hectares of land for development with the potential to create over 12,000 homes. As these areas are experiencing mass regeneration, infrastructure will also be boosted along with the enhancement of local amenities, leaving surrounding properties increasing in value making it a prime time to invest in Leeds.