It was the textiles industry – woollen cloth in particular – that propelled Leeds onto the world scene in the 19th century; the city’s Temple Works Mill was the largest of its kind at the time. Increased automation and jobs moving abroad meant the city experienced a decline in the 20th century. However, this has been reversed. The city is now the fastest growing city in the UK and has the largest legal and financial centre in the nation outside of London.
Here’s why Leeds – part of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse – makes our list of top cities for property investment.
The continuous supply of top talent from what is the largest concentration of Higher Education Institutions outside of London has meant businesses are flocking to the city in droves. Leeds has the highest private sector jobs growth in the UK and is one of the top five cities in the UK for attracting foreign direct investment. The likes of the Asda Group, First Direct and BT all have more than 1,000 employees based in the city. As a consequence, Leed’s economy is projected to grow by 21% over the next ten years, with over half of this growth coming from finance and business services.
Over the last decade, large-scale development projects have had £3.9 billion in investment poured into them, with a further £7.3 billion worth of development under construction and in the pipeline.
A significant chunk of this investment has gone into making Leeds a premier shopping destination. Recently completed projects include the largest premium retail venue in Northern England – Victoria Gate. Built to resemble a Victorian shopping arcade in homage to the surrounding architecture, Victoria Gate was voted as the world’s best shopping centre in 2017. Then there is the £350m Trinity Leeds development that opened in 2013, offering 1m sq ft of prime retail space and bringing nearly 3,000 jobs to the area.
Leeds train station is the busiest in the North of England and is currently undergoing a £500m upgrade, promising to further establish Leeds as a northern gateway hub. The upgrade should be completed by 2033 when the first HS2 trains arrive in the city.
HS2, a planned high-speed rail link, will dramatically cut travel time from Leeds to other major UK cities. The link will bridge the north-south divide, free up congested rail lines and improve reliability; increasing productivity, tourism and employment rates exponentially as result.
The train station initiative exists as part of the groundbreaking South Bank project – the most significant development in the city in over 100 years, delivering more than 35,000 jobs and 8,000 homes. This 253-hectare regeneration area south of the River Aire will double the size of Leeds city centre. The project will cement the city as an esteemed and celebrated global destination for investment, living, learning, and working.
Located in the middle of the UK, Leeds is just 175 miles from London, and over 7 million people live within a 1-hour drive. It is also a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors, offering plenty of opportunities for weekend escapes to the countryside for residents and visitors.
With so much to offer and so many projects in the pipeline, it is no surprise the Leeds property investment market is thriving. The highest rental yields – 7.43% – are found in the trendy and well-located LS6 postcode, a suburb of Headingley with excellent commuter links to both main universities. Properties in Leeds cost an average of £215,000, well below the UK average of £310,000.
Leeds is experiencing exceptional growth and opportunity, driven by a high supply of talent and a booming commercial property market; more than 32,000 jobs have been created since 1998, and the population grew 151% between 2002 and 2015, second only to Manchester. With the average property increasing in value by £44,000 over the last five years, there has never been a better time to get into Leeds property investment.
Here at Alesco, we have a wide range of exclusive opportunities in the city; most are listed on our website here but to hear about our full range – including our off-market options – give us a call today or fill in your details below.
Also published on Medium.