The population of Manchester city centre stands at over 50,000. The population of Leeds city centre is closer to 10,000. It's not that young professionals in Leeds have less of a taste for city life than their Mancunian neighbours. The issue is a chronic lack of housing stock. Music to a property investor's ears.
International property consultancy JLL now rate Leeds as the number one prospect for residential price and rental growth in the UK, outranking other regional centres like Manchester and Birmingham.
This breadth and depth provided much needed resilience during the recent economic turndown. Today, the city’s economy is worth £18 billion and has grown 40% in the last decade. The region now generates 5% of the national economic output and employs 1.4 million people.
Leeds has a large population of affluent young renters. A great deal of development work has gone on in the city centre over the last decade, but it has been predominantly commercial, not residential, leading to a shortfall in housing supply. There is an acute shortage of quality, affordable accommodation. Over 3,000 new dwellings are required per year until 2033 to meet demand. Developments in the pipeline fall far short of that figure. Rental growth is on the increase.
Of particular interest to property investors will be the huge South Bank redevelopment. Home to much of Leeds' industrial past, the area's regeneration sets out to double both the size and the economy of the city centre. The growth in employment will vastly exceed the number of homes it will provide. The value of properties close to South Bank, and their rental income, is likely to rise considerably faster than any other part of the city.