Demand for residential development land in Leeds city centre is high and has increased dramatically over the past 12-18 months. Following several years of inactivity, a number of sites changed hands during 2015 supported by an improving economy and brighter housing market conditions.
Three universities can be found in Leeds: The University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University which service over 38,000 graduates every year. Leeds has the fourth largest student population in the country making it a hotbed of student buy-to-let opportunities.
Leeds Beckett University have more than 28,000 students from almost 100 countries around the world. Last year the University reported that they contributed an estimated £500 million to the economy every year.
At the 2011 UK census, the district had a total population of 751,500, representing a 5% growth since the last census of 2001. Of the 301,614 households in Leeds in the 2001 census, 33.3% were married couples living together, 31.6% were one-person households, 9.0% were cohabiting couples and 9.8% were lone parents, following a similar trend to the rest of England.
Leeds is the UK’s fastest growing city and is the main driver of a city region with a £64.6 billion economy, a combined population of 3 million and a workforce of 1.37 million. Over the next ten years, the economy is forecast to grow by 21% with financial and business services set to generate over half of GVA growth over that period.
Financial and business services account for 38% of total output. Other key sectors include retail, leisure and the visitor economy, construction, manufacturing and the creative and digital industries.
Leeds has one of the most diverse economy of the all the UK’s main employment centres. In 2016, Leeds saw the fastest rate of private sector jobs growth of any UK city and has the highest ratio of public to private sector jobs of all the UK’s Core Cities. The city has the third largest jobs total by local authority area with 480,000 in employment and self-employment at the beginning of 2015.
Most of the sales in Leeds over the past year were semi-detached properties which on average sold for £191,077. Terraced properties had an average sold price of £145,943 and flats averaged at £135,839. In the past year house prices in Leeds were 6% up on the year before and 12% up on 2014 when they averaged at £171,504.
Deloitte’s 2015/16 regional crane survey has revealed that the number of residential construction launches in Leeds increased by a massive 600%. This demonstrates the highest rate of residential construction starts for the region in almost a decade.
Leeds has also been identified as a good area to invest in for student built accommodation due to low levels of supply and the universities’ successes in attracting new students. Investment in student accommodation in the UK has increased by 17% in 2017.
Leeds is the largest legal and financial centre in the UK, and in 2011 its financial and insurance services industry was worth £2.1 billion, with more than 30 national and international banks located in the city. Leeds is also the UK’s third largest manufacturing centre with around 1,800 firms and 39,000 employees, Leeds manufacturing firms account for around 8% of total employment in the city.
Leeds’ growth has helped to change the economic geography of the United Kingdom, as Leeds is now the largest financial centres in Britain outside the capital. New tertiary industries such as retail, call centres, offices and media have contributed to a high rate of economic growth since the early 1990s. Leeds was successful in becoming the first British city to have full broadband and digital coverage during the dot-com bubble, enabling it to become one of the key hubs in the emerging new media sector. Now, over 33% of the UK’s internet traffic passes through Leeds, making it one of the most important regional internet centres in the UK.
Leeds is situated on the M1, the M62 and the A1 connecting it with cities to the north, south, east and west. Leeds City station is one of Network Rails fourteen principal stations and has rail links to London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh and other major cities.
Leeds Bradford Airport handles upwards of 3 million passengers a year and offers flights to destinations across Europe. Alternatively, Manchester Airport can be accessed by rail in just 49 minutes.